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: "The woman is mad!" cried Lady Lydiard. "Do you actually suppose, Miss Pink, that Alfred Hardyman could, by any earthly possibility, marry your niece!" Not even Miss Pink's politeness could submit to such a question as this. She rose indignantly from her chair. "As you aware, Lady Lydiard, that the doubt you have just expressed is an insult to my niece, and a insult to Me?" -- "Are _you_ aware of who Mr. Hardyman really is?" retorted her Ladyship. "Or do you judge of his position by the vocation in life which he has perversely chosen to adopt? I can tell you, if you do, that Alfred Hardyman is the younger son of one of the oldest barons in the English Peerage, and that his mother is related by marriage to the Royal family of Wurtemberg." Miss Pink received the full shock of this information without receding from her position by a hair-breadth.