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Agnes had so often sat beside me at my books. Nobody came near me
until late at night. I took up a book, and tried to read. I heard
the clocks strike twelve, and was still reading, without knowing
what I read, when Agnes touched me.
'You will be going early in the morning, Trotwood! Let us say
She had been weeping, but her face then was so calm and beautiful!
'Heaven bless you!' she said, giving me her hand.
'Dearest Agnes!' I returned, 'I see you ask me not to speak of
tonight - but is there nothing to be done?'
'There is God to trust in!' she replied.
'Can I do nothing-I, who come to you with my poor sorrows?'
'And make mine so much lighter,' she replied. 'Dear Trotwood, no!'
'Dear Agnes,' I said, 'it is presumptuous for me, who am so poor in
all in which you are so rich - goodness, resolution, all noble
qualities - to doubt or direct you; but you know how much I love
you, and how much I owe you. You will never sacrifice yourself to
a mistaken sense of duty, Agnes?'
More agitated for a moment than I had ever seen her, she took her
hands from me, and moved a step back.
'Say you have no such thought, dear Agnes! Much more than sister!
Think of the priceless gift of such a heart as yours, of such a
love as yours!'
Oh! long, long afterwards, I saw that face rise up before me, with
its momentary look, not wondering, not accusing, not regretting.
Oh, long, long afterwards, I saw that look subside, as it did now,
into the lovely smile, with which she told me she had no fear for
herself - I need have none for her - and parted from me by the name
of Brother, and was gone!
It was dark in the morning, when I got upon the coach at the inn
door. The day was just breaking when we were about to start, and
then, as I sat thinking of her, came struggling up the coach side,
through the mingled day and night, Uriah's head.