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The elder gentleman rose, not as the other had done with a restless impulse quickly subsiding at the first excuse, but forcibly and with a feverish impatience that to appearance was somewhat out of proportion to the occasion. I had rather you had accounted for this sudden freak of yours by the strongest aspiration after power than by this cry of the merely mercenary man who in his desire to enjoy wealth, prefers to win it by a stroke of luck rather than conquer it by a life of endeavor. But Bertram, I am interested in your welfare and am willing to incur some slight charge of inconsistency in order to insure it," and here he turned upon his companion with that expression of extreme gentleness which lent such a peculiar charm to his countenance and explained perhaps the almost unlimited power he held over the hearts and minds of those who came within the circle of his influence.
It is not for the sake of wealth itself or the eclat attending its possession that I desire an immediate fortune, but that by means of it I may attain another object dearer than wealth, and more precious than my career. The elder gentleman turned quickly, evidently much surprised, and cast a sudden inquiring glance at his nephew, who blushed with a modest ingenuousness pleasing to see in one so well accustomed to the critical gaze of his fellow-men. A deep silence for a moment pervaded the apartment, a sombre silence almost startling to young Mandeville, who had expected some audible expression to follow this announcement if only the good-natured "Pooh!
What could it mean? Looking up he encountered his uncle's eye fixed upon him with the last expression he could have anticipated seeing there, namely that of actual and unmistakable alarm. Beauty is not sufficient," he went on with sterner and sterner significance, "though it were of an angelic order.
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There must be worth. I do not even know if she is beautiful," he continued. There was so much of bitterness in the tone in which this was uttered, that Mandeville forgot its incredulity. Three weeks ago I was satisfied with my profession, if not enthusiastic over it; to-day I ask nothing but to be allowed to enter upon some business that in three years' time at least will place me where I can be the fit mate of any woman in this land, that is not worth her millions.
No woman of to-day, I should say; our mothers were different.