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A Mere Chance

A Novel (Complete)

Library of Alexandria
A debutante in Melbourne whose name was Rachel Fetherstonhaugh. She had risen upon the social horizon suddenly, like a new star--or, one might almost say, like a comet, so unusually bright was she, and so much talked about; and no one quite knew where she had come from. Mrs. Hardy had introduced her as her niece--everyone knew that--but there were sceptics who, having never heard of female relatives previously (except the three daughters, who had married so well), declared that she might be "anybody," picked up merely for matchmaking purposes--it being well understood that Mrs. Hardy had for an unknown period sustained life, figuratively speaking, upon the stimulus of matrimonial intrigues, and had now no more daughters to provide for. That this pretty creature had been unseen and unsuspected until the last Miss Hardy, as Mrs. Buxton, was fairly away on her honeymoon, and almost immediately after had been introduced to society as Mrs. Buxton's successor, was a kind of circumstance that seemed, of course, bound to have a mystery at the bottom of it. But, as a matter of fact, there was no mystery. Rachel Fetherstonhaugh was a bona-fide niece, and her entrance into the Hardy family at a particular juncture could be quite easily accounted for.