Welcome to today’s Mary Stewart Advent Calendar post. I have decided to post an excerpt from the opening pages of a Mary Stewart manuscript that was cut from the final version of the novel. Can you guess which Mary Stewart book this comes from?

She had not been away to school. Her brother Robert, who was six years her senior, had been sent to Oundle the year after they had come to live at C__ C__, but X had stayed at home, and gone to school in O__. She had been a happy, unambitious child, who had made friends readily, but had distinguished herself in no other way. She passed her exams equally without fuss and without distinction, and she was not particularly good at games – this to the great relief of her father, for whom the sight of muscular female legs tended to conjure up the ballet music of Tchaikowsky [sic], which he loathed…

Robert, who was at Reading now, studying agriculture, was home at weekends, and for a time it looked very much like he and G__ would decide to marry one another, and settle at G__’s Northumberland home. This would have been an admirable arrangement in every way, as G__’s father, Jasper Maidment, was a farmer, and Robert had already spent most of his available time staying up at Blaefell, helping him run the farm. G__’s mother was dead, and Jasper, while carefully saying nothing to Robert, hoped fervently that he and G__ would marry, and eventually take over the farm from him.

Have you worked out the answer? Let me know your thoughts.