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Synopsis

Datchley, Monday, August the First.—Another day of agony and of acting. Soon all must be stopped. It cannot go on. Here is my last day of absence from the bank, and I am not one bit better. They have been only too indulgent. But what can they do? They must have their work done, and already they are complaining up in the London office. A hundred and fifty pounds a year, and that darling of mine, Dora—the children—all depending on me. If I lost this situation, what would become of us? And yet I must. My fingers can scarcely feel the pen, and the trembling characters swim before my eyes as I write on; the paper seems to rise up like waves of a huge white sea and suffuse my pupils. What am I to do? There, my darling has just gone out with the usual question, "How do you feel now, dear? You are stronger after this rest, are you not?" And I falsely say "Yes!" How can I pain her, she suffers more than I do. O, what folly and infatuation to have brought her into this state of life! I should have stood by and let her marry that man, who would have, at least, maintained her in comfort; but my own selfishness would not let me. He might have turned out a good husband. Though he was not a good man, she must have made him one. But my selfishness must sacrifice her to myself. Like us all! There! I open a book—a favourite one of mine—Holy Living and Dying, and read a sentence; up rises the page to my eyes like a great wave of foam; a faint buzzing begins in my ears and swells into the roar of a great sea. What does all this mean? What can be coming? God preserve my senses! or can this be a punishment that I have deserved? Yet the doctor proceeds with his cant, "A little rest is all that is wanted—you must give up work." How smoothly they say these things—so complacently. And pray will you, sir, feed her, feed them, pay the rent? No! so far from that, his eye is wandering to her gentle delicate little fingers, which, by that divine Aladdin's Lamp a dear devoted girl contrives to find, have got hold of what will satisfy him. We men can find for ourselves readily enough, but they find for others. There—there I must stop.

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