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The barrister was keen enough to divine that the banker would not
have gone so far in his expression of opinion on any less solid
ground than moral certainty.

Unprepared as he was for the large pill he had to swallow, he got it
down. “And now,” said Mr. Stryver, shaking his forensic
forefinger at the Temple in general, when it was down, “my way
out of this, is, to put you all in the wrong.” It was a bit of the art of
an Old Bailey tactician, in which be found great relief. “You shall
not put me in the wrong, young lady,” said Mr. Stryver; “I’ll do
that for you.” Accordingly, when Mr. Lorry called that night as late
as ten o’clock, Mr. Stryver, among a quantity of books and papers
littered out for the purpose, seemed to have nothing less on his
mind than the subject of the morning. He even showed surprise
when he saw Mr. Lorry, and was altogether in an absent and
preoccupied state.

“Well!” said that good-natured emissary, after a full half-hour of
bootless attempts to bring him round to the question. “I have been
to Soho.” “To Soho?” repeated Mr. Stryver, coldly. “Oh, to be sure!
What am I thinking of!” “And I have no doubt,” said Mr. Lorry,
“that I was right in the conversation we had. My opinion is
confirmed, and I reiterate my advice.” “I assure you,” returned Mr.
Stryver, in the friendliest way, “that I am sorry for it on your
account, and sorry for it on the poor father’s account. I know this
must always be a sore subject with the family; let us say no more
about it.” “I don’t understand you,” said Mr. Lorry.

“I dare say not,” rejoined Stryver, nodding his head in a smoothing
and final way; “no matter, no matter.” “But it does matter,” Mr.
Lorry urged.

“No it doesn’t; I assure you it doesn’t. Having supposed that there
was sense where there is no sense, and a laudable ambition where
there is not a laudable ambition, I am well out of my mistake, and
no harm is done. Young women have committed similar follies
often before, and have repented them in poverty and obscurity
often before. In an unselfish aspect, I am sorry that the thing is
dropped, because it would have been a bad thing for me in a
worldly point of view; in a selfish aspect, I am glad that the thing
has dropped, because it would have been a bad thing for me in a
worldly point of view-it is hardly necessary to say I could have
gained nothing by it. There is no harm at all done. I have not
proposed to the young lady, and, between ourselves, I am by no
means certain, on reflection, that I ever should have committed
myself to that extent. Mr. Lorry, you cannot control the mincing
vanities and giddinesses of empty-headed girls; you must not
expect to do it, or you will always be disappointed. Now, pray say
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