by Georgette Heyer
"I must say, I don't blame Uncle Nat for barring your intended, Stephen," said Paula fairly.
Stephen did not seem to mind this candid opinion of his taste. He strolled over to the fire, and lowered his long limbs into an armchair. "The perfect anodyne," he said. "By the way, I don't think your latest pick-up so bloody hot."
"Willoughby? Oh, I know, but he's got genius! I don't care about anything else. Besides, I'm not in love with him. But what you can see in that brainless doll beats me!"
"My good girl, what I see in her must be abundantly plain to everyone," said Stephen. "This playwriting wen of yours sees it too, not to mention Joe, whose tongue is fairly hanging out."
"Close-up of the Herriards," said Mathilda, lying back in her chair, and lazily regarding brother and sister. "Cads, both. Carry on: don't mind me."
"Well, I believe in being honest," said Paula. "You are a fool, Stephen! She wouldn't have got engaged to you if she hadn't thought you'd come in for all Uncle Nat's money."
"I know," said Stephen blandly.
"And if you ask me she came down here with you on purpose to mash Uncle Nat."
"I know," said Stephen again.
Their eyes met; Stephen's lips twitched suddenly, and, while Mathilda lay and watched them, he and Paula went into fits of helpless laughter.
"You and your Willoughby, and me and my Val!" gasped Stephen. "Oh,
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