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Agnes Grey

19.
The Letter
MY father's mortal remains had been consigned to the tomb; and we, with sad
faces and sombre garments, sat lingering over the frugal breakfast-table,
revolving plans for our future life.
My mother's strong mind had not given way beneath even this affliction: her
spirit, though crushed, was not broken. Mary's wish was that I should go back to
Horton Lodge, and that our mother should come and live with her and Mr.
Richardson at the vicarage: she affirmed that he wished it no less than herself,
and that such an arrangement could not fail to benefit all parties; for my mother's
society and experience would be of inestimable value to them, and they would do
all they could to make her happy. But no arguments or entreaties could prevail:
my mother was determined not to go. Not that she questioned, for a moment, the
kind wishes and intentions of her daughter; but she affirmed that so long as God
spared her health and strength, she would make use of them to earn her own
livelihood, and be chargeable to no one; whether her dependence would be felt
as a burden or not. If she could afford to reside as a lodger in - vicarage, she
would choose that house before all others as the place of her abode; but not
being so circumstanced, she would never come under its roof, except as an
occasional visitor: unless sickness or calamity should render her assistance
really needful, or until age or infirmity made her incapable of maintaining herself.
'No, Mary,' said she, 'if Richardson and you have anything to spare, you must lay
it aside for your family; and Agnes and I must gather honey for ourselves. Thanks
to my having had daughters to educate, I have not forgotten my
accomplishments. God willing, I will check this vain repining,' she said, while the
tears coursed one another down her cheeks in spite of her efforts; but she wiped
them away, and resolutely shaking back her head, continued, 'I will exert myself,
and look out for a small house, commodiously situated in some populous but
healthy district, where we will take a few young ladies to board and educate - if
we can get them - and as many day pupils as will come, or as we can manage to
instruct. Your father's relations and old friends will be able to send us some
pupils, or to assist us with their recommendations, no doubt: I shall not apply to
my own. What say you to it, Agnes? will you be willing to leave your present
situation and try?'
'Quite willing, mamma; and the money I have saved will do to furnish the house.
It shall be taken from the bank directly.'
'When it is wanted: we must get the house, and settle on preliminaries first.'
Mary offered to lend the little she possessed; but my mother declined it, saying
that we must begin on an economical plan; and she hoped that the whole or part
 
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