Pick up the nearest book. (I’m sure you must have one nearby.)
Turn to page 123.
What is the first sentence on the page?
The last sentence on the page?
Now . . . connect them together….
(And no, you may not transcribe the entire page of the book–that’s cheating!)
“I always speak my mind, and I told him at the time that he would do better to ally himself to a female nearer in age to himself.”
“I could not!”
This actually makes sense! It sounds like the second speaker is telling the first that she could not speak her mind and tell the man in question he could have found a wife closer in age.
The quotes are from April Lady by Georgette Heyer. The first speaker is Lady Chudleigh, the aunt of the Earl of Cardross (the “he” of the comment”). She is speaking the young countess, Nell. The earl’s young half-sister, Lady Letitia, has worn an improper gown to Lady Chudleigh’s masquerade. Letty is a flighty girl, slightly younger than Nell. Lady Chudleigh is lamenting to Nell that she regrets the fact “that Letitia does not take a lesson from you, dear [Nell].” Though Lady Chudleigh advised the earl to find a wife “nearer in age”, since the marriage Lady Chudleigh has been “agreeably surprised” by Nell’s “discretion” and “good taste.” Lady Chudleigh is bestowing a compliment — a rarity, as her daughter tells Nell after the older woman walks away.
Miss Chudleigh is the speaker of the second quote. She eventually brings up the topic of Letty’s shocking gown. She says to Nell, “I can’t think how [Letty] can [wear it] without blushing. I could not.”