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A Laodicean by Thomas Hardy

Part 10 out of 10

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diminished, and feeling thoroughly weary, Somerset and Paula
remained no longer, returning to Markton as they had come.

On their journey they pondered and discussed what course it
would be best to pursue in the circumstances, gradually
deciding not to attempt rebuilding the castle unless they were
absolutely compelled. True, the main walls were still
standing as firmly as ever; but there was a feeling common to
both of them that it would be well to make an opportunity of a
misfortune, and leaving the edifice in ruins start their
married life in a mansion of independent construction hard by
the old one, unencumbered with the ghosts of an unfortunate
line.

'We will build a new house from the ground, eclectic in style.
We will remove the ashes, charred wood, and so on from the
ruin, and plant more ivy. The winter rains will soon wash the
unsightly smoke from the walls, and Stancy Castle will be
beautiful in its decay. You, Paula, will be yourself again,
and recover, if you have not already, from the warp given to
your mind (according to Woodwell) by the mediaevalism of that
place.'

'And be a perfect representative of "the modern spirit"?' she
inquired; 'representing neither the senses and understanding,
nor the heart and imagination; but what a finished writer
calls "the imaginative reason"?'

'Yes; for since it is rather in your line you may as well keep
straight on.'

'Very well, I'll keep straight on; and we'll build a new house
beside the ruin, and show the modern spirit for evermore. . .
. But, George, I wish--' And Paula repressed a sigh.

'Well?'

'I wish my castle wasn't burnt; and I wish you were a De
Stancy!'

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