"I have a question to ask, my dear."
"Charmed, I am sure, to answer it--if I can."
"Am I right in supposing that Lord Howel Beaucourt is about half your age?"
"Yes, dear; my future husband is as nearly as possible half as old as I am."
Mrs. Newsham's uneasy virtue shuddered. "What a profanation of marriage!" she exclaimed.
"Nothing of the sort," her friend pronounced positively. "Marriage, by the law of England (as my lawyer tells me), is nothing but a contract. Who ever heard of profaning a contract?"
"Call it what you please, Matilda. Do you expect to live a happy life, at your age, with a young man for your husband?"
"A happy life," Miss Dulane repeated, "because it will be an innocent life." She laid a certain emphasis on the last word but one.