―Your father and I have been in consultation some time already.
We are almost agreed I shall have your sister to wife.‖
―But, Mr. Arkwright,‖ said Will, ―have you spoke to Amelia?‖
―Why would I do th
at? I have your father's favour, 'tis all that is
Matt and Jonas looked at each other.
by Naomi Rankin Page 4
―Why, not at all, sir,‖ said Jonas. ―Do you not know that there is a
new fashion? You will be much laughed at, sir, if you do not askmy sister yourself first, before she is commanded to it by my
―Laughed at! Why should I be laughed at?‖
―It is now
-a-days considered quite unmanly not to hazard yourself
with the lady, sir,‖ said Jonas. ―A gentleman who lets his father
-inlawundertake all the work of wooing and winning on his behalf islooked upon as quite craven. Mr. Harper over at Lonsgate couldhardly show his face in town for a week when it was known he had
Miss Betty Greenwood bestowed on him without her knowledge.‖
―Craven! I will not submit to that, sir,‖ Bob Arkwright cried. ―I
will not be compared with Mr. Harper.‖
―Well, then, away with you, sir, to Amelia and be at your courting
yourself,‖ said Matt.
―I will indeed,‖ said Bob Arkwright. ―Gentlemen, I thank you,
should not otherwise have known.‖ And he turned forthwith to
knock upon their front door, rather than to seek out Squire Loftusin the kennels as he had originally intended. Matt, Jonas, Dan andWill waited until Mr. Arkwright had been admitted, and the door had well closed behind him, to burst out in uproarious laughter.No further exchange of words was required amongst them todetermine them to run round to peer in the window of the ladies'sitting room, to see for themselves the progress of Mr. Arkwright'sattempt upon the maidenly sensibilities of their only sister. Theyreached their vantage point just as the ardent suitor was ushered in,and they were further enlivened to observe that Amelia was alonein the room to receive the frankest expression of Mr. Arkwright'sardour, and that the window was open to permit them to hear.
―Well, Miss Loftus, I've had my eye on you for some time,‖ Mr.
Arkwright said. ―You're a fine dashing filly, and want only a
by Naomi Rankin Page 5masterful fellow in t
he saddle. What say you?‖
―Whatever do you mean, Mr. Arkwright?‖ said Miss Loftus. Her
brothers could easily perceive that she was considerably astonishedand somewhat ruffled.
-me, Miss Loftus, I'm popping the question. What else
would I mean?‖
―I'm sure I've no idea, Mr. Arkwright.‖ Miss Loftus was here