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I believed I could. I drew the wife who had so long loved me,
closer to my side.

'She told me that she made a last request to me, and left me a last

'And it was -'

'That only I would occupy this vacant place.'

And Agnes laid her head upon my breast, and wept; and I wept with
her, though we were so happy.


What I have purposed to record is nearly finished; but there is yet
an incident conspicuous in my memory, on which it often rests with
delight, and without which one thread in the web I have spun would
have a ravelled end.

I had advanced in fame and fortune, my domestic joy was perfect, I
had been married ten happy years. Agnes and I were sitting by the
fire, in our house in London, one night in spring, and three of our
children were playing in the room, when I was told that a stranger
wished to see me.

He had been asked if he came on business, and had answered No; he
had come for the pleasure of seeing me, and had come a long way.
He was an old man, my servant said, and looked like a farmer.

As this sounded mysterious to the children, and moreover was like
the beginning of a favourite story Agnes used to tell them,
introductory to the arrival of a wicked old Fairy in a cloak who
hated everybody, it produced some commotion. One of our boys laid
his head in his mother's lap to be out of harm's way, and little
Agnes (our eldest child) left her doll in a chair to represent her,
and thrust out her little heap of golden curls from between the
window-curtains, to see what happened next.

'Let him come in here!' said I.
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