Summary (Masterplots: Revised Category Edition, British Fiction Series)
Vanessa was fifteen years old when her grandmother, Judith Paris, died. At the funeral, Adam, her sincere but unpolished father, made a speech that was admired only by Vanessa and her mother, Margaret. Adam loved his mother well and spoke with too much sincerity. His numerous relatives would rather have heard a eulogy of the proud family of Herries.
At the funeral, Vanessa noticed everyone, and her beauty made even the most distant relatives notice her. She had special interest, however, for her cousin Benjie. She already knew she loved him. Benjie was a rascal who did not fit in well with his haughty family. He was capable of hard work and common sense for a while, but he had sporadic fits of wildness. Some of his relatives believed that no good could come from Benjie’s heritage. His uncle had killed his father. One grandfather had committed suicide. The other one was living out a mad dotage.
Vanessa also noticed hesitant, stiff Ellis Herries, her distant cousin. Ellis managed to remark that it was a nice day. As soon as Vanessa agreed, she ran out to meet Benjie.
Although Benjie was personable, Adam did not like her to take walks with him. Benjie kissed Vanessa, however, and she promised to marry him when she grew up. Vanessa was so good and beautiful that Benjie had qualms about such a promise. He told her the truth about his character and his wildness, and he attacked her faith in God. Vanessa, however, resolved to hold fast...
(The entire section is 1197 words.)
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