Saturday September 19th, 1868

Sir John seized both my hands and held them pretty tightly, a manoeuvre that took me utterly unawares but which I strongly resented. ‘Dull! It isn’t that the country bores me, any more than London would. On the contrary I used to live there most peacefully, content with my books and my horses for all companionship: and I was cheerful and happy until I met you!’

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Here he ceased, carried my captive hands passionately to his lips and drew me towards him, evidently with the intention of inflicting quite a differ- ent caress, but I was too quick for him. I pushed him back with more strength than he probably gave me credit for, exclaiming indignantly ‘I think you are forgetting yourself, Sir John.’ ‘You are quite wrong, and it is very unjust of you to attribute any such ideas to me, when my dearest wish is that you would give me a right to love and cherish you, and call you by the sweet and sacred name of-‘

‘Alice! May wants to speak to you!’ -the opportune disturbance came from Father, and you may guess how willingly I obeyed the summons, whispering to Sir John as I passed ‘Let our conversation cease here, for nothing of the sort could ever be!’, and my tone was so resolute that, for a wonder, he believed me, and accepted his dismissal as irrevocable coming down at my usual late hour next morning, I was informed he had left for Scotland. A pleasant journey to him, and good sport!

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