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"Mean? What you tell me doesn't sound mean."

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"I'm talking of his behavior to Garvington," explained the hostess, touching her ruffled hair, "he doesn't give us enough money."

"Why should he give you any?" asked Mrs. Belgrove bluntly.

"Well, you see, dear, Garvington would never have allowed his sister to marry a nobody, unless—"

"Unless the nobody paid for his footing. I quite understand. Every one knows that Agnes married the man to save her family from bankruptcy. Poor girl!" Mrs. Belgrove sighed. "And she loved Noel. What a shame that she couldn't become his wife!"

"Oh, that would have been absurd," said Lady Garvington pettishly. "What's the use of Hunger marrying Thirst? Noel has no money, just like ourselves, and if it hadn't been for Hubert this place would have been sold long ago. I'm telling you secrets, mind."

"My dear, you tell me nothing that everybody doesn't know."

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"Then what is your advice?"

"About what, my dear?"

"About what I have been telling you. The burglar, and—"

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"I have told you before, that it is rubbish. If a burglar does come here I hope Lord Garvington will shoot him, as I don't want to lose my diamonds."

"But if the burglar is Noel?"

"He won't be Noel. Clara Greeby has simply made a nasty suggestion which is worthy of her. But if you're afraid, why not get her to marry Noel?"

"He won't have her," said Lady Garvington dolefully.