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before, and had strolled out of the village to read them while my
supper was making ready. Other packets had missed me, and I had
received none for a long time. Beyond a line or two, to say that
I was well, and had arrived at such a place, I had not had
fortitude or constancy to write a letter since I left home.

The packet was in my hand. I opened it, and read the writing of

She was happy and useful, was prospering as she had hoped. That
was all she told me of herself. The rest referred to me.

She gave me no advice; she urged no duty on me; she only told me,
in her own fervent manner, what her trust in me was. She knew (she
said) how such a nature as mine would turn affliction to good. She
knew how trial and emotion would exalt and strengthen it. She was
sure that in my every purpose I should gain a firmer and a higher
tendency, through the grief I had undergone. She, who so gloried
in my fame, and so looked forward to its augmentation, well knew
that I would labour on. She knew that in me, sorrow could not be
weakness, but must be strength. As the endurance of my childish
days had done its part to make me what I was, so greater calamities
would nerve me on, to be yet better than I was; and so, as they had
taught me, would I teach others. She commended me to God, who had
taken my innocent darling to His rest; and in her sisterly
affection cherished me always, and was always at my side go where
I would; proud of what I had done, but infinitely prouder yet of
what I was reserved to do.

I put the letter in my breast, and thought what had I been an hour
ago! When I heard the voices die away, and saw the quiet evening
cloud grow dim, and all the colours in the valley fade, and the
golden snow upon the mountain-tops become a remote part of the pale
night sky, yet felt that the night was passing from my mind, and
all its shadows clearing, there was no name for the love I bore
her, dearer to me, henceforward, than ever until then.

I read her letter many times. I wrote to her before I slept. I
told her that I had been in sore need of her help; that without her
I was not, and I never had been, what she thought me; but that she
inspired me to be that, and I would try.

I did try. In three months more, a year would have passed since
the beginning of my sorrow. I determined to make no resolutions
until the expiration of those three months, but to try. I lived in
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