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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 200 pages of information about A Dark Night's Work.
it may be my fault, it may be in my temperament, to be anxious, above all things earthly, to obtain and possess a high reputation.  I can only say that it is so, and leave you to blame me for my weakness as much as you like.  But anything that might come in between me and this object would, I own, be ill tolerated by me; the very dread of such an obstacle intervening would paralyse me.  I should become irritable, and, deep as my affection is, and always must be, towards you, I could not promise you a happy, peaceful life.  I should be perpetually haunted by the idea of what might happen in the way of discovery and shame.  I am the more convinced of this from my observation of your father’s altered character—­an alteration which I trace back to the time when I conjecture that the secret affairs took place to which you have alluded.  In short, it is for your sake, my dear Ellinor, even more than for my own, that I feel compelled to affix a final meaning to the words which your father addressed to me last night, when he desired me to leave his house for ever.  God bless you, my Ellinor, for the last time my Ellinor.  Try to forget as soon as you can the unfortunate tie which has bound you for a time to one so unsuitable—­I believe I ought to say so unworthy of you—­as—­RALPH CORBET.”

Ellinor was making breakfast when this letter was given her.  According to the wont of the servants of the respective households of the Parsonage and Ford Bank, the man asked if there was any answer.  It was only custom; for he had not been desired to do so.  Ellinor went to the window to read her letter; the man waiting all the time respectfully for her reply.  She went to the writing-table, and wrote: 

“It is all right—­quite right.  I ought to have thought of it all last August.  I do not think you will forget me easily, but I entreat you never at any future time to blame yourself.  I hope you will be happy and successful.  I suppose I must never write to you again:  but I shall always pray for you.  Papa was very sorry last night for having spoken angrily to you.  You must forgive him—­there is great need for forgiveness in this world.—­ELLINOR.”

She kept putting down thought after thought, just to prolong the last pleasure of writing to him.  She sealed the note, and gave it to the man.  Then she sat down and waited for Miss Monro, who had gone to bed on the previous night without awaiting Ellinor’s return from the dining-room.

“I am late, my dear,” said Miss Monro, on coming down, “but I have a bad headache, and I knew you had a pleasant companion.”  Then, looking round, she perceived Ralph’s absence.

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