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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 301 pages of information about The Absentee.

’I cannot—­I cannot answer for myself—­I will not run the risk; and therefore I must quit you—­knowing, as I do, that there is an invincible obstacle to our union, of what nature I cannot explain; I beg you not to inquire.’

‘You need not beg it—­I shall not inquire—­I have no curiosity—­none,’ said she, in a passive, dejected tone; ’that is not what I am thinking of in the least.  I know there are invincible obstacles; I wish it to be so.  But, if invincible, you who have so much sense, honour, and virtue—­’

’I hope, my dear cousin, that I have honour and virtue.  But there are temptations to which no wise, no good man will expose himself.  Innocent creature! you do not know the power of love.  I rejoice that you have always thought it impossible—­think so still—­it will save you from—­all I must endure.  Think of me but as your cousin, your friend—­give your heart to some happier man.  As your friend, your true friend, I conjure you, give your heart to some more fortunate man.  Marry, if you can feel love—­marry, and be happy.  Honour! virtue!  Yes, I have both, and I will not forfeit them.  Yes, I will merit your esteem and my own—­by actions, not words; and I give you the strongest proof, by tearing myself from you at this moment.  Farewell!’

‘The carriage at the door, Miss Nugent, and my lady calling for you,’ said her maid.  ’Here’s your key, ma’am, and here’s your gloves, my dear ma’am.’

’The carriage at the door, Miss Nugent, said Lady Clonbrony’s woman, coming eagerly with parcels in her hand, as Miss Nugent passed her and ran downstairs; ’and I don’t know where I laid my lady’s NUMBRELLA, for my life—­do your Anne?’

’No, indeed—­but I know here’s my own young lady’s watch that she has left.  Bless me!  I never knew her to forget anything on a journey before.’

’Then she is going to be married, as sure as my name’s Le Maistre, and to my Lord Colambre; for he has been here this hour, to my certain Bible knowledge.  Oh, you’ll see, she will be Lady Colambre?

’I wish she may, with all my heart said Anne; ’but I must run down—­they’re waiting.’

‘Oh no,’ said Mrs. le Maistre, seizing Anne’s arm, and holding her fast; ’stay—­you may safely—­for they’re all kissing and taking leave, and all that, you know; and my lady is talking on about Mr. Soho, and giving a hundred directions about legs of tables, and so forth, I warrant—­she’s always an hour after she’s ready before she gets in—­and I’m looking for the NUMBRELLA.  So stay, and tell me—­Mrs. Petito wrote over word it was to be Lady Isabel; and then a contradiction came—­it was turned into the youngest of the Killpatricks; and now here he’s in Miss Nugent’s dressing-room to the last moment.  Now, in my opinion, that am not censorious, this does not look so pretty; but, according to my verdict, he is only making a fool of Miss Nugent, like the rest; and his lordship seems too like what you might call a male COCKET, or a masculine jilt.’

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