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Still weeping, but not sadly - joyfully! And clasped in my arms as
she had never been, as I had thought she never was to be!
'When I loved Dora - fondly, Agnes, as you know -'
'Yes!' she cried, earnestly. 'I am glad to know it!'
'When I loved her - even then, my love would have been incomplete,
without your sympathy. I had it, and it was perfected. And when
I lost her, Agnes, what should I have been without you, still!'
Closer in my arms, nearer to my heart, her trembling hand upon my
shoulder, her sweet eyes shining through her tears, on mine!
'I went away, dear Agnes, loving you. I stayed away, loving you.
I returned home, loving you!'
And now, I tried to tell her of the struggle I had had, and the
conclusion I had come to. I tried to lay my mind before her,
truly, and entirely. I tried to show her how I had hoped I had
come into the better knowledge of myself and of her; how I had
resigned myself to what that better knowledge brought; and how I
had come there, even that day, in my fidelity to this. If she did
so love me (I said) that she could take me for her husband, she
could do so, on no deserving of mine, except upon the truth of my
love for her, and the trouble in which it had ripened to be what it
was; and hence it was that I revealed it. And O, Agnes, even out
of thy true eyes, in that same time, the spirit of my child-wife
looked upon me, saying it was well; and winning me, through thee,
to tenderest recollections of the Blossom that had withered in its
'I am so blest, Trotwood - my heart is so overcharged - but there
is one thing I must say.'
She laid her gentle hands upon my shoulders, and looked calmly in
'Do you know, yet, what it is?'
'I am afraid to speculate on what it is. Tell me, my dear.'