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'Look here!' she said, striking the scar again, with a relentless
hand. 'When he grew into the better understanding of what he had
done, he saw it, and repented of it! I could sing to him, and talk
to him, and show the ardour that I felt in all he did, and attain
with labour to such knowledge as most interested him; and I
attracted him. When he was freshest and truest, he loved me. Yes,
he did! Many a time, when you were put off with a slight word, he
has taken Me to his heart!'

She said it with a taunting pride in the midst of her frenzy - for
it was little less - yet with an eager remembrance of it, in which
the smouldering embers of a gentler feeling kindled for the moment.

'I descended - as I might have known I should, but that he
fascinated me with his boyish courtship - into a doll, a trifle for
the occupation of an idle hour, to be dropped, and taken up, and
trifled with, as the inconstant humour took him. When he grew
weary, I grew weary. As his fancy died out, I would no more have
tried to strengthen any power I had, than I would have married him
on his being forced to take me for his wife. We fell away from one
another without a word. Perhaps you saw it, and were not sorry.
Since then, I have been a mere disfigured piece of furniture
between you both; having no eyes, no ears, no feelings, no
remembrances. Moan? Moan for what you made him; not for your
love. I tell you that the time was, when I loved him better than
you ever did!'

She stood with her bright angry eyes confronting the wide stare,
and the set face; and softened no more, when the moaning was
repeated, than if the face had been a picture.

'Miss Dartle,' said I, 'if you can be so obdurate as not to feel
for this afflicted mother -'

'Who feels for me?' she sharply retorted. 'She has sown this. Let
her moan for the harvest that she reaps today!'

'And if his faults -' I began.

'Faults!' she cried, bursting into passionate tears. 'Who dares
malign him? He had a soul worth millions of the friends to whom he

'No one can have loved him better, no one can hold him in dearer
<- Previous | Table Of Contents | Next -> Digital Library - Copperfield by Charles Dickens

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