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terms--any one of God’s creatures, would be the wildest fiction.
Still, there had somehow stolen upon him from time to time a
thought of his niece which was tinged with compassion and pity;
breaking through the dull cloud of dislike or indifference which
darkened men and women in his eyes, there was, in her case, the
faintest gleam of light--a most feeble and sickly ray at the best of
times--but there it was, and it showed the poor girl in a better and
purer aspect than any in which he had looked on human nature

‘I wish,’ thought Ralph, ‘I had never done this. And yet it will
keep this boy to me, while there is money to be made. Selling a
girl--throwing her in the way of temptation, and insult, and coarse
speech. Nearly two thousand pounds profit from him already
though. Pshaw! match-making mothers do the same thing every

He sat down, and told the chances, for and against, on his

‘If I had not put them in the right track today,’ thought Ralph,
‘this foolish woman would have done so. Well. If her daughter is as
true to herself as she should be from what I have seen, what harm
ensues? A little teasing, a little humbling, a few tears. Yes,’ said
Ralph, aloud, as he locked his iron safe. ‘She must take her
chance. She must take her chance.’

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