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Of course there was a Great House at Allington. How otherwise should there have been a Small House? Our story will, as its name imports, have its closest relations with those who lived in the less dignified domicile of the two; but it will have close relations also with the more dignified, and it may be well that I should, in the first instance, say a few words as to the Great House and its owner.The squires of Allington had been squires of Allington since squires, such as squires are now, were first known in England. From father to son, and from uncle to nephew, and, in one instance, from second cousin to second cousin, the sceptre had descended in the family of the Dales; and the acres had remained intact, growing in value and not decreasing in number, though guarded by no entail and protected by no wonderful amount of prudence or wisdom.
After the sentence pronounced against him by Lilian, the two girls remained silent for awhile. Bell was, perhaps, a little angry with her sister. It was not often that she allowed herself to say much in praise of any gentleman; and, now that she had spoken a word or two in favour of Mr Crosbie, she felt herself to be rebuked by her sister for this unwonted enthusiasm. Lily was at work on a drawing, and in a minute or two had forgotten all about Mr Crosbie; but the injury remained on Bell's mind and prompted her to go back to the subject."I don't like those slang words, Lily.""What slang words?""You know what you called Bernard's friend.""Oh; a swell. I fancy I do like slang. I think it's awfully jolly to talk about things being jolly. Only that I was afraid of your nerves I should have called him stunning. It's so slow, you know, to use nothing but words out of a dictionary.""I don't think it's nice in talking of gentlemen."