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'Aye!' he returned. 'It's all very fine - Well! I must do the best
I can, for the present, I suppose.'

In spite of himself, he appeared abashed by my aunt's indignant
tears, and came slouching out of the garden. Taking two or three
quick steps, as if I had just come up, I met him at the gate, and
went in as he came out. We eyed one another narrowly in passing,
and with no favour.

'Aunt,' said I, hurriedly. 'This man alarming you again! Let me
speak to him. Who is he?'

'Child,' returned my aunt, taking my arm, 'come in, and don't speak
to me for ten minutes.'

We sat down in her little parlour. My aunt retired behind the
round green fan of former days, which was screwed on the back of a
chair, and occasionally wiped her eyes, for about a quarter of an
hour. Then she came out, and took a seat beside me.

'Trot,' said my aunt, calmly, 'it's my husband.'

'Your husband, aunt? I thought he had been dead!'

'Dead to me,' returned my aunt, 'but living.'

I sat in silent amazement.

'Betsey Trotwood don't look a likely subject for the tender
passion,' said my aunt, composedly, 'but the time was, Trot, when
she believed in that man most entirely. When she loved him, Trot,
right well. When there was no proof of attachment and affection
that she would not have given him. He repaid her by breaking her
fortune, and nearly breaking her heart. So she put all that sort
of sentiment, once and for ever, in a grave, and filled it up, and
flattened it down.'

'My dear, good aunt!'

'I left him,' my aunt proceeded, laying her hand as usual on the
back of mine, 'generously. I may say at this distance of time,
Trot, that I left him generously. He had been so cruel to me, that
I might have effected a separation on easy terms for myself; but I
did not. He soon made ducks and drakes of what I gave him, sank
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