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as his papers afforded any evidence; for there was no kind of hint,
sketch, or memorandum, of any testamentary intention whatever.
What was scarcely less astonishing to me, was, that his affairs
were in a most disordered state. It was extremely difficult, I
heard, to make out what he owed, or what he had paid, or of what he
died possessed. It was considered likely that for years he could
have had no clear opinion on these subjects himself. By little and
little it came out, that, in the competition on all points of
appearance and gentility then running high in the Commons, he had
spent more than his professional income, which was not a very large
one, and had reduced his private means, if they ever had been great
(which was exceedingly doubtful), to a very low ebb indeed. There
was a sale of the furniture and lease, at Norwood; and Tiffey told
me, little thinking how interested I was in the story, that, paying
all the just debts of the deceased, and deducting his share of
outstanding bad and doubtful debts due to the firm, he wouldn't
give a thousand pounds for all the assets remaining.

This was at the expiration of about six weeks. I had suffered
tortures all the time; and thought I really must have laid violent
hands upon myself, when Miss Mills still reported to me, that my
broken-hearted little Dora would say nothing, when I was mentioned,
but 'Oh, poor papa! Oh, dear papa!' Also, that she had no other
relations than two aunts, maiden sisters of Mr. Spenlow, who lived
at Putney, and who had not held any other than chance communication
with their brother for many years. Not that they had ever
quarrelled (Miss Mills informed me); but that having been, on the
occasion of Dora's christening, invited to tea, when they
considered themselves privileged to be invited to dinner, they had
expressed their opinion in writing, that it was 'better for the
happiness of all parties' that they should stay away. Since which
they had gone their road, and their brother had gone his.

These two ladies now emerged from their retirement, and proposed to
take Dora to live at Putney. Dora, clinging to them both, and
weeping, exclaimed, 'O yes, aunts! Please take Julia Mills and me
and Jip to Putney!' So they went, very soon after the funeral.

How I found time to haunt Putney, I am sure I don't know; but I
contrived, by some means or other, to prowl about the neighbourhood
pretty often. Miss Mills, for the more exact discharge of the
duties of friendship, kept a journal; and she used to meet me
sometimes, on the Common, and read it, or (if she had not time to
do that) lend it to me. How I treasured up the entries, of which
I subjoin a sample! -
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