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The two speakers were on the platform of Invershin station, on the Highland line of railway. One of them was a tall young woman of distinguished presence and somewhat imperious carriage, as you could gather at a first glance; but the next second, if she happened to turn her face towards you, you would have perceived that her expression meant nothing but a bland gentleness and a prevailing and excellent good-humour. Perhaps it was the dimple in her cheek that did it—a dimple that came there readily whenever she regarded any one, and that seemed to say she was very willing to be pleased and to please: at all events, she found it easy, or had hitherto found it easy, to make friends. For the rest, she was of an erect and elegant figure; her complexion fair; her eyes grey-green, and full of light; her abundant hair of a sunny brown; her features regular enough and fine enough for all practical purposes. It was of this young woman that her friend and now her travelling companion, Kate Glendinning, was in the habit of saying— "There's one thing I will confess about Mary Stanley: she's not quite honest. She is too happy. She is so happy in herself that she wants every one she meets to share in her content; and she is apt to say clever and flattering little things that are not quite true. It is for no selfish purpose; quite the reverse: still—you mustn't believe all that Mary says to you."

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