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She told me, to unfold myself to her was telling it to nobody;
that she was silent as death; that it must be a very strange case
indeed that she could not help me out of; but to conceal it was
to deprive myself of all possible help, or means of help, and to
deprive her of the opportunity of serving me. In short, she had
such a bewitching eloquence, and so great a power of persuasion
that there was no concealing anything from her.

So I resolved to unbosom myself to her. I told her the history
of my Lancashire marriage, and how both of us had been
disappointed; how we came together, and how we parted; how
he absolutely discharged me, as far as lay in him, free liberty to
marry again, protesting that if he knew it he would never claim
me, or disturb or expose me; that I thought I was free, but was
dreadfully afraid to venture, for fear of the consequences that
might follow in case of a discovery.

Then I told her what a good offer I had; showed her my friend's
two last letters, inviting me to come to London, and let her see
with what affection and earnestness they were written, but
blotted out the name, and also the story about the disaster of
his wife, only that she was dead.

She fell a-laughing at my scruples about marrying, and told
me the other was no marriage, but a cheat on both sides; and
that, as we were parted by mutual consent, the nature of the
contract was destroyed, and the obligation was mutually
discharged. She had arguments for this at the tip of her tongue;
and, in short, reasoned me out of my reason; not but that it
was too by the help of my own inclination.

But then came the great and main difficulty, and that was the
child; this, she told me in so many words, must be removed,
and that so as that it should never be possible for any one to
discover it. I knew there was no marrying without entirely
concealing that I had had a child, for he would soon have
discovered by the age of it that it was born, nay, and gotten
too, since my parley with him, and that would have destroyed
all the affair.

But it touched my heart so forcibly to think of parting entirely
with the child, and, for aught I knew, of having it murdered,
or starved by neglect and ill-usage (which was much the same),
that I could not think of it without horror. I wish all those
women who consent to the disposing their children out of the
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