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CHAPTER III. "THE TIME OF LOVERS IS BRIEF." When a man is sole master of his estate and thoroughly independent of his kindred, his choice of a wife, if not altogether outrageous and unpardonable, must needs be submissively accepted by his belongings. Vansittart lost not an hour in telling his sister and her husband that henceforth they must look upon Eve Marchant as a very close connection. " We shall be married at midsummer," he said, " so you may as well begin to think of her as a sister-in-law." Sir Hubert, who was the very essence of good nature, received the announcement with unalloyed cordiality. " She is a bright, frank girl, very pretty, very winning, and very intelligent," he said. " I congratulate you, Jackthough naturally one would have wished " " That she were the daughter of a duke, or that she had half a million of money," interjected Vansittart. "I understand you. It is a bad match from a worldly point of view. I, who have between three and four thousand a year, should have stood out for other three or four thousand with a wife, and thus solidified my income. I ought at least to have tried America; seen if the heiress market there would have supplied the proper article. Well, you see, Hubert, I am of too impatient a temper for that kind of thing. I have found the woman I can love with all my heart and mind, and I have lost no time in winning her." "You are a paladin, Jacka troubadourall that there is of the most romantic and chivalrous," laughed Sir Hubert. " She is a dear, dear girl," sighed Maud, "and I could hardly be fonder of her if she were my sisterbut it certainly is the most disappointing choice you could have made." " Is it ? Why, I might have chosen abarmaid" " Not you. You are not that kind of man. But except a barmaid...