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broken. I knew its tender nature very well. No one could, if I
did not. She loved me dearly, but was never happy. She was always
labouring, in secret, under this distress; and being delicate and
downcast at the time of his last repulse - for it was not the
first, by many - pined away and died. She left me Agnes, two weeks
old; and the grey hair that you recollect me with, when you first
came.' He kissed Agnes on her cheek.
'My love for my dear child was a diseased love, but my mind was all
unhealthy then. I say no more of that. I am not speaking of
myself, Trotwood, but of her mother, and of her. If I give you any
clue to what I am, or to what I have been, you will unravel it, I
know. What Agnes is, I need not say. I have always read something
of her poor mother's story, in her character; and so I tell it you
tonight, when we three are again together, after such great
changes. I have told it all.'
His bowed head, and her angel-face and filial duty, derived a more
pathetic meaning from it than they had had before. If I had wanted
anything by which to mark this night of our re-union, I should have
found it in this.
Agnes rose up from her father's side, before long; and going softly
to her piano, played some of the old airs to which we had often
listened in that place.
'Have you any intention of going away again?' Agnes asked me, as I
was standing by.
'What does my sister say to that?'
'I hope not.'
'Then I have no such intention, Agnes.'
'I think you ought not, Trotwood, since you ask me,' she said,
mildly. 'Your growing reputation and success enlarge your power of
doing good; and if I could spare my brother,' with her eyes upon
me, 'perhaps the time could not.'
'What I am, you have made me, Agnes. You should know best.'
'I made you, Trotwood?'
'Yes! Agnes, my dear girl!' I said, bending over her. 'I tried to