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'The ride will do his master good, at all events,' observed my
aunt, glancing at the papers on my table. 'Ah, child, you pass a
good many hours here! I never thought, when I used to read books,
what work it was to write them.'

'It's work enough to read them, sometimes,' I returned. 'As to the
writing, it has its own charms, aunt.'

'Ah! I see!' said my aunt. 'Ambition, love of approbation,
sympathy, and much more, I suppose? Well: go along with you!'

'Do you know anything more,' said I, standing composedly before her
- she had patted me on the shoulder, and sat down in my chair - 'of
that attachment of Agnes?'

She looked up in my face a little while, before replying:

'I think I do, Trot.'

'Are you confirmed in your impression?' I inquired.

'I think I am, Trot.'

She looked so steadfastly at me: with a kind of doubt, or pity, or
suspense in her affection: that I summoned the stronger
determination to show her a perfectly cheerful face.

'And what is more, Trot -' said my aunt.


'I think Agnes is going to be married.'

'God bless her!' said I, cheerfully.

'God bless her!' said my aunt, 'and her husband too!'

I echoed it, parted from my aunt, and went lightly downstairs,
mounted, and rode away. There was greater reason than before to do
what I had resolved to do.

How well I recollect the wintry ride! The frozen particles of ice,
brushed from the blades of grass by the wind, and borne across my
face; the hard clatter of the horse's hoofs, beating a tune upon
the ground; the stiff-tilled soil; the snowdrift, lightly eddying
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