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The Woman in White

The Story Continued By Marian Halcombe
I
BLACKWATER PARK, HAMPSHIRE.
June 11th, 1850.--Six months to look back on--six long, lonely months since Laura and I
last saw each other!
How many days have I still to wait? Only one! To-morrow, the twelfth, the travellers
return to England. I can hardly realise my own happiness--I can hardly believe that the
next four-and- twenty hours will complete the last day of separation between Laura and
me.
She and her husband have been in Italy all the winter, and afterwards in the Tyrol. They
come back, accompanied by Count Fosco and his wife, who propose to settle somewhere
in the neighbourhood of London, and who have engaged to stay at Blackwater Park for
the summer months before deciding on a place of residence. So long as Laura returns, no
matter who returns with her. Sir Percival may fill the house from floor to ceiling, if he
likes, on condition that his wife and I inhabit it together.
Meanwhile, here I am, established at Blackwater Park, "the ancient and interesting seat"
(as the county history obligingly informs me) "of Sir Percival Glyde, Bart.," and the
future abiding-place (as I may now venture to add on my account) of plain Marian
Halcombe, spinster, now settled in a snug little sitting-room, with a cup of tea by her side,
and all her earthly possessions ranged round her in three boxes and a bag.
I left Limmeridge yesterday, having received Laura's delightful letter from Paris the day
before. I had been previously uncertain whether I was to meet them in London or in
Hampshire, but this last letter informed me that Sir Percival proposed to land at
Southampton, and to travel straight on to his country-house. He has spent so much money
abroad that he has none left to defray the expenses of living in London for the remainder
of the season, and he is economically resolved to pass the summer and autumn quietly at
Blackwater. Laura has had more than enough of excitement and change of scene, and is
pleased at the prospect of country tranquillity and retirement which her husband's
prudence provides for her. As for me, I am ready to be happy anywhere in her society.
We are all, therefore, well contented in our various ways, to begin with.
Last night I slept in London, and was delayed there so long to-day by various calls and
commissions, that I did not reach Blackwater this evening till after dusk.
Judging by my vague impressions of the place thus far, it is the exact opposite of
Limmeridge.
The house is situated on a dead flat, and seems to be shut in-- almost suffocated, to my
north-country notions, by trees. I have seen nobody but the man-servant who opened the
 
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