"She might or she might not," spoke Mrs. St. Clare, impressively. "Marriage used to be called a lottery: but it is a lottery that seems to be getting as scarce now as the lotteries that the old governments put down. For one girl who marries, half-a-dozen girls do not marry. Is it, or is it not so, Lydia?"

No response. Mrs. St. Clare resumed.

"And it appears to me, Lydia, that the more eligible girls, those who are most worthy to be chosen and who would make the best wives, are generally those who are left. Have you been chosen yet?—forgive me for speaking plainly. No. Yet you have been waiting to be chosen—just as other girls wait—for these six or seven years. Daisy may wait in the same manner; wait for ever. We must sacrifice some prejudices in these non-marrying days, Lydia, if we are to get our daughters off at all. If an offer comes, though it may be one that in the old times would have been summarily rejected, it is

← Page-206 p.207 Page-208 →