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Agnes Grey

20.
The Farewell
A HOUSE in A-, the fashionable watering-place, was hired for our seminary; and
a promise of two or three pupils was obtained to commence with. I returned to
Horton Lodge about the middle of July, leaving my mother to conclude the
bargain for the house, to obtain more pupils, to sell off the furniture of our old
abode, and to fit out the new one.
We often pity the poor, because they have no leisure to mourn their departed
relatives, and necessity obliges them to labour through their severest afflictions:
but is not active employment the best remedy for overwhelming sorrow - the
surest antidote for despair? It may be a rough comforter: it may seem hard to be
harassed with the cares of life when we have no relish for its enjoyments; to be
goaded to labour when the heart is ready to break, and the vexed spirit implores
for rest only to weep in silence: but is not labour better than the rest we covet?
and are not those petty, tormenting cares less hurtful than a continual brooding
over the great affliction that oppresses us? Besides, we cannot have cares, and
anxieties, and toil, without hope - if it be but the hope of fulfilling our joyless task,
accomplishing some needful project, or escaping some further annoyance.
At any rate, I was glad my mother had so much employment for every faculty of
her action-loving frame. Our kind neighbours lamented that she, once so exalted
in wealth and station, should be reduced to such extremity in her time of sorrow;
but I am persuaded that she would have suffered thrice as much had she been
left in affluence, with liberty to remain in that house, the scene of her early
happiness and late affliction, and no stern necessity to prevent her from
incessantly brooding over and lamenting her bereavement.
I will not dilate upon the feelings with which I left the old house, the well-known
garden, the little village church - then doubly dear to me, because my father,
who, for thirty years, had taught and prayed within its walls, lay slumbering now
beneath its flags - and the old bare hills, delightful in their very desolation, with
the narrow vales between, smiling in green wood and sparkling water - the house
where I was born, the scene of all my early associations, the place where
throughout life my earthly affections had been centred; - and left them to return
no more! True, I was going back to Horton Lodge, where, amid many evils, one
source of pleasure yet remained: but it was pleasure mingled with excessive
pain; and my stay, alas! was limited to six weeks.
And even of that precious time, day after day slipped by and I did not see him:
except at church, I never saw him for a fortnight after my return. It seemed a long
time to me: and, as I was often out with my rambling pupil, of course hopes
would keep rising, and disappointments would ensue; and then, I would say to
my own heart, 'Here is a convincing proof - if you would but have the sense to
 
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