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A Dark Night's Work Elizabeth Gaskell

Chapter XVI

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"Oh! certainly, certainly," said he; and then he took her hand; he held it, while he looked into her face. He had thought it changed when he had first seen her, but it was now almost the same to him as of yore. The sweet shy eyes, the indicated dimple in the cheek, and something of fever had brought a faint pink flush into her usually colourless cheeks. Married judge though he was, he was not sure if she had not more charms for him still in her sorrow and her shabbiness than the handsome stately wife in the next room, whose looks had not been of the pleasantest when he left her a few minutes before. He sighed a little regretfully as Ellinor went away. He had obtained the position he had struggled for, and sacrificed for; but now he could not help wishing that the slaughtered creature laid on the shrine of his ambition were alive again.

The kedgeree was brought up again, smoking hot, but it remained untasted by him; and though he appeared to be reading the Times, he did not see a word of the distinct type. His wife, meanwhile, continued her complaints of the untimely visitor, whose name he did not give to her in its corrected form, as he was not anxious that she should have it in her power to identify the call of this morning with a possible future acquaintance.

When Ellinor reached Mr. Johnson's house in Hellingford that afternoon, she found Miss Monro was there, and that she had been with much difficulty restrained by Mr. Johnson from following her to London.

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Miss Monro fondled and purred inarticulately through her tears over her recovered darling, before she could speak intelligibly enough to tell her that Canon Livingstone had come straight to see her immediately on his return to East Chester, and had suggested her journey to Hellingford, in order that she might be of all the comfort she could to Ellinor. She did not at first let out that he had accompanied her to Hellingford; she was a little afraid of Ellinor's displeasure at his being there; Ellinor had always objected so much to any advance towards intimacy with him that Miss Monro had wished to make. But Ellinor was different now.

"How white you are, Nelly!" said Miss Monro. "You have been travelling too much and too fast, my child."

"My head aches!" said Ellinor, wearily. "But I must go to the castle, and tell my poor Dixon that he is reprieved--I am so tired! Will you ask Mr. Johnson to get me leave to see him? He will know all about it."

She threw herself down on the bed in the spare room; the bed with the heavy blue curtains. After an unheeded remonstrance, Miss Monro went to do her bidding. But it was now late afternoon, and Mr. Johnson said that it would be impossible for him to get permission from the sheriff that night.

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A Dark Night's Work
Elizabeth Gaskell

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