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Adam Bede

dear Hetty, of the world in which I must always live, and you would soon begin to
dislike me, because there would be so little in which we should be alike.
"And since I cannot marry you, we must part--we must try not to feel like lovers
any more. I am miserable while I say this, but nothing else can be. Be angry with
me, my sweet one, I deserve it; but do not believe that I shall not always care for
you-- always be grateful to you--always remember my Hetty; and if any trouble
should come that we do not now foresee, trust in me to do everything that lies in
my power.
"I have told you where you are to direct a letter to, if you want to write, but I put it
down below lest you should have forgotten. Do not write unless there is
something I can really do for you; for, dear Hetty, we must try to think of each
other as little as we can. Forgive me, and try to forget everything about me,
except that I shall be, as long as I live, your affectionate friend,
ARTHUR DONNITHORNE.
Slowly Hetty had read this letter; and when she looked up from it there was the
reflection of a blanched face in the old dim glass-- a white marble face with
rounded childish forms, but with something sadder than a child's pain in it. Hetty
did not see the face--she saw nothing--she only felt that she was cold and sick
and trembling. The letter shook and rustled in her hand. She laid it down. It was a
horrible sensation--this cold and trembling. It swept away the very ideas that
produced it, and Hetty got up to reach a warm cloak from her clothes-press,
wrapped it round her, and sat as if she were thinking of nothing but getting warm.
Presently she took up the letter with a firmer hand, and began to read it through
again. The tears came this time--great rushing tears that blinded her and
blotched the paper. She felt nothing but that Arthur was cruel--cruel to write so,
cruel not to marry her. Reasons why he could not marry her had no existence for
her mind; how could she believe in any misery that could come to her from the
fulfilment of all she had been longing for and dreaming of? She had not the ideas
that could make up the notion of that misery.
As she threw down the letter again, she caught sight of her face in the glass; it
was reddened now, and wet with tears; it was almost like a companion that she
might complain to--that would pity her. She leaned forward on her elbows, and
looked into those dark overflooding eyes and at the quivering mouth, and saw
how the tears came thicker and thicker, and how the mouth became convulsed
with sobs.
The shattering of all her little dream-world, the crushing blow on her new-born
passion, afflicted her pleasure-craving nature with an overpowering pain that
annihilated all impulse to resistance, and suspended her anger. She sat sobbing
till the candle went out, and then, wearied, aching, stupefied with crying, threw
herself on the bed without undressing and went to sleep.
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