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we arranged a plan of correspondence through Miss Mills, always to
comprehend at least one letter on each side every day!

What an idle time! What an insubstantial, happy, foolish time! Of
all the times of mine that Time has in his grip, there is none that
in one retrospect I can smile at half so much, and think of half so


I wrote to Agnes as soon as Dora and I were engaged. I wrote her
a long letter, in which I tried to make her comprehend how blest I
was, and what a darling Dora was. I entreated Agnes not to regard
this as a thoughtless passion which could ever yield to any other,
or had the least resemblance to the boyish fancies that we used to
joke about. I assured her that its profundity was quite
unfathomable, and expressed my belief that nothing like it had ever
been known.

Somehow, as I wrote to Agnes on a fine evening by my open window,
and the remembrance of her clear calm eyes and gentle face came
stealing over me, it shed such a peaceful influence upon the hurry
and agitation in which I had been living lately, and of which my
very happiness partook in some degree, that it soothed me into
tears. I remember that I sat resting my head upon my hand, when
the letter was half done, cherishing a general fancy as if Agnes
were one of the elements of my natural home. As if, in the
retirement of the house made almost sacred to me by her presence,
Dora and I must be happier than anywhere. As if, in love, joy,
sorrow, hope, or disappointment; in all emotions; my heart turned
naturally there, and found its refuge and best friend.

Of Steerforth I said nothing. I only told her there had been sad
grief at Yarmouth, on account of Emily's flight; and that on me it
made a double wound, by reason of the circumstances attending it.
I knew how quick she always was to divine the truth, and that she
would never be the first to breathe his name.

To this letter, I received an answer by return of post. As I read
it, I seemed to hear Agnes speaking to me. It was like her cordial
voice in my ears. What can I say more!
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