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An Excerpt:  ""Is that so!" exclaimed Manasseh, in surprise. "I should have said she was just
out of a convent where she had been placed to be educated."
"What eyes you have! Even without looking at her you have guessed her age to a
month, I'll warrant! She is my client, the unfortunate Princess Cagliari, née
Countess Blanka Zboroy. You know the family: their estates are entailed, so that
all but the eldest son have to shift for themselves as best they can. The
younger sons go into the army or the Church, and the daughters are wedded to
rich husbands, or else they take the veil. But it so happened that once upon a
time a rich bishop belonging to this family made a will directing that his
property be allowed to accumulate until it became large enough to provide a snug
fortune of a million florins for each of his relatives; and this end was
recently realised. But by the terms of the will, the heirs are allowed only the
usufruct of this legacy, and, furthermore, even that is to be forfeited under
certain circumstances, as for example, if allegiance be refused to the reigning
dynasty, or if the legatee renounce the Roman Catholic faith, or, in the case of
a woman,15 lead an unchaste life. Any part of the estate thus forfeited goes to
the remaining legatees in an equal division, and so you can imagine what a sharp
watch the several beneficiaries under this will keep over one another. A million
is no bagatelle; the game is worth the candle. But to come back to our
starting-point, Countess Blanka was joined in marriage with Prince Cagliari as
soon as she left the convent. You must know the prince, at least by reputation;
he plays no small part in the political world.""


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