The Small House at Allington
      
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Lily has for a long time been secretly loved by John Eames, a junior clerk at the Income Tax Office, while Bell is in love with the local doctor, James Crofts. The handsome and personable, somewhat mercenary Adolphus Crosbie is introduced into the circle by the squire's nephew, Bernard Dale. Adolphus rashly proposes marriage to portionless Lily, who accepts him, to the dismay of John Eames.
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