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He was eating as well as drinking, and seemed to eat with a hungry
appetite. He seemed curious regarding the cottage, too, as if it
were the first time he had seen it. After stooping to put the
bottle on the ground, he looked up at the windows, and looked
about; though with a covert and impatient air, as if he was anxious
to be gone.
The light in the passage was obscured for a moment, and my aunt
came out. She was agitated, and told some money into his hand. I
heard it chink.
'What's the use of this?' he demanded.
'I can spare no more,' returned my aunt.
'Then I can't go,' said he. 'Here! You may take it back!'
'You bad man,' returned my aunt, with great emotion; 'how can you
use me so? But why do I ask? It is because you know how weak I
am! What have I to do, to free myself for ever of your visits, but
to abandon you to your deserts?'
'And why don't you abandon me to my deserts?' said he.
'You ask me why!' returned my aunt. 'What a heart you must have!'
He stood moodily rattling the money, and shaking his head, until at
length he said:
'Is this all you mean to give me, then?'
'It is all I CAN give you,' said my aunt. 'You know I have had
losses, and am poorer than I used to be. I have told you so.
Having got it, why do you give me the pain of looking at you for
another moment, and seeing what you have become?'
'I have become shabby enough, if you mean that,' he said. 'I lead
the life of an owl.'
'You stripped me of the greater part of all I ever had,' said my
aunt. 'You closed my heart against the whole world, years and
years. You treated me falsely, ungratefully, and cruelly. Go, and
repent of it. Don't add new injuries to the long, long list of
injuries you have done me!'