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Agnes Grey

23.
The Park
I CAME down a little before eight, next morning, as I knew by the striking of a
distant clock. There was no appearance of breakfast. I waited above an hour
before it came, still vainly longing for access to the library; and, after that lonely
repast was concluded, I waited again about an hour and a half in great suspense
and discomfort, uncertain what to do. At length Lady Ashby came to bid me
good-morning. She informed me she had only just breakfasted, and now wanted
me to take an early walk with her in the park. She asked how long I had been up,
and on receiving my answer, expressed the deepest regret, and again promised
to show me the library. I suggested she had better do so at once, and then there
would be no further trouble either with remembering or forgetting. She complied,
on condition that I would not think of reading, or bothering with the books now; for
she wanted to show me the gardens, and take a walk in the park with me, before
it became too hot for enjoyment; which, indeed, was nearly the case already. Of
course I readily assented; and we took our walk accordingly.
As we were strolling in the park, talking of what my companion had seen and
heard during her travelling experience, a gentleman on horseback rode up and
passed us. As he turned, in passing, and stared me full in the face, I had a good
opportunity of seeing what he was like. He was tall, thin, and wasted, with a slight
stoop in the shoulders, a pale face, but somewhat blotchy, and disagreeably red
about the eyelids, plain features, and a general appearance of languor and
flatness, relieved by a sinister expression in the mouth and the dull, soulless
eyes.
'I detest that man!' whispered Lady Ashby, with bitter emphasis, as he slowly
trotted by.
'Who is it?' I asked, unwilling to suppose that she should so speak of her
husband.
'Sir Thomas Ashby,' she replied, with dreary composure.
'And do you detest him, Miss Murray?' said I, for I was too much shocked to
remember her name at the moment.
'Yes, I do, Miss Grey, and despise him too; and if you knew him you would not
blame me.'
'But you knew what he was before you married him.'
'No; I only thought so: I did not half know him really. I know you warned me
against it, and I wish I had listened to you: but it's too late to regret that now. And
 
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