By Barbara Cartland

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She closed her eyes for a moment as if the effort of making any decision was almost too much for her; and then, as Caroline curtsiedi, she opened her eyes again and added: 'I somehow feel you will not be bullied, child. ' 'I hope so,' Caroline said softly, 'and thank you, Ma'am. ' The footman was waiting outside the door to escort her downstairs. It was not James, but another white-faced youth, who looked scared and made no effort to speak, so Caroline followed him in silence. She longed to find out where Maria was, but she thought it wiser to say nothing for the moment, at least until she knew who in this household was likely to be friendly, and who not.

Her cheeks were flushed, but her mouth pouted a little and her eyes were mutinous at the thought of Lady Augusta's insinuations. But her heart still beat quickly at the emotions which Lord Brecon had aroused within her. She had never known herself to feel so strange. Slowly she raised her hands and put them against her burning cheeks, then she sat down suddenly on the stool in front of the dressing-table and hid her face in her hands. What was happening to her? Never before had she felt like this; never had she been so strung up, so thrilled, so excited that a turmoil of emotions seemed to succeed one another in an almost endless procession.

Caroline laid her bonnet down on a chair, took up the book from a table beside the bed, and turning over the pages, came to one of her favourite poems. She knew she read well, for her governess had been most insistent that her elocution should be good. When she had finished the poem, Lady Brecon said quietly: 'That was charming! ' Caroline was half-way through another poem when there came another knock at the door. Dorcas went to it, spoke to someone outside, then came across the room with a grim expression on her face.

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