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was some small satisfaction to me to observe his spare,
short-waisted, high-shouldered, mulberry-coloured great-coat
perched up, in company with an umbrella like a small tent, on the
edge of the back seat on the roof, while Agnes was, of course,
inside; but what I underwent in my efforts to be friendly with him,
while Agnes looked on, perhaps deserved that little recompense. At
the coach window, as at the dinner-party, he hovered about us
without a moment's intermission, like a great vulture: gorging
himself on every syllable that I said to Agnes, or Agnes said to

In the state of trouble into which his disclosure by my fire had
thrown me, I had thought very much of the words Agnes had used in
reference to the partnership. 'I did what I hope was right.

Feeling sure that it was necessary for papa's peace that the
sacrifice should be made, I entreated him to make it.' A miserable
foreboding that she would yield to, and sustain herself by, the
same feeling in reference to any sacrifice for his sake, had
oppressed me ever since. I knew how she loved him. I knew what
the devotion of her nature was. I knew from her own lips that she
regarded herself as the innocent cause of his errors, and as owing
him a great debt she ardently desired to pay. I had no consolation
in seeing how different she was from this detestable Rufus with the
mulberry-coloured great-coat, for I felt that in the very
difference between them, in the self-denial of her pure soul and
the sordid baseness of his, the greatest danger lay. All this,
doubtless, he knew thoroughly, and had, in his cunning, considered

Yet I was so certain that the prospect of such a sacrifice afar
off, must destroy the happiness of Agnes; and I was so sure, from
her manner, of its being unseen by her then, and having cast no
shadow on her yet; that I could as soon have injured her, as given
her any warning of what impended. Thus it was that we parted
without explanation: she waving her hand and smiling farewell from
the coach window; her evil genius writhing on the roof, as if he
had her in his clutches and triumphed.

I could not get over this farewell glimpse of them for a long time.
When Agnes wrote to tell me of her safe arrival, I was as miserable
as when I saw her going away. Whenever I fell into a thoughtful
state, this subject was sure to present itself, and all my
uneasiness was sure to be redoubled. Hardly a night passed without
my dreaming of it. It became a part of my life, and as inseparable
from my life as my own head.
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