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lower and lower, married another woman, I believe, became an
adventurer, a gambler, and a cheat. What he is now, you see. But
he was a fine-looking man when I married him,' said my aunt, with
an echo of her old pride and admiration in her tone; 'and I
believed him - I was a fool! - to be the soul of honour!'

She gave my hand a squeeze, and shook her head.

'He is nothing to me now, Trot-less than nothing. But, sooner
than have him punished for his offences (as he would be if he
prowled about in this country), I give him more money than I can
afford, at intervals when he reappears, to go away. I was a fool
when I married him; and I am so far an incurable fool on that
subject, that, for the sake of what I once believed him to be, I
wouldn't have even this shadow of my idle fancy hardly dealt with.
For I was in earnest, Trot, if ever a woman was.'

MY aunt dismissed the matter with a heavy sigh, and smoothed her

'There, my dear!' she said. 'Now you know the beginning, middle,
and end, and all about it. We won't mention the subject to one
another any more; neither, of course, will you mention it to
anybody else. This is my grumpy, frumpy story, and we'll keep it
to ourselves, Trot!'


I laboured hard at my book, without allowing it to interfere with
the punctual discharge of my newspaper duties; and it came out and
was very successful. I was not stunned by the praise which sounded
in my ears, notwithstanding that I was keenly alive to it, and
thought better of my own performance, I have little doubt, than
anybody else did. It has always been in my observation of human
nature, that a man who has any good reason to believe in himself
never flourishes himself before the faces of other people in order
that they may believe in him. For this reason, I retained my
modesty in very self-respect; and the more praise I got, the more
I tried to deserve.

It is not my purpose, in this record, though in all other
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