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"Shall I trust you with his story? Shall I tell you his real name? Shall I show you,
as I threatened, the thoughts that have grown out of my interview with him and
out of all that has happened to me since that time?
"Or shall I keep his secret as I promised? and keep my own secret too, by bringing
this weary, long letter to an end at the very moment when you are burning to hear
"Those are serious questions, Mrs. Oldershaw--more serious than you suppose. I
have had time to calm down, and I begin to see, what I failed to see when I first
took up my pen to write to you, the wisdom of looking at consequences. Have I
frightened myself in trying to frighten you? It is possible--strange as it may seem,
it is really possible.
"I have been at the window for the last minute or two, thinking. There is plenty of
time for thinking before the post leaves. The people are only now coming out of
"I have settled to put my letter on one side, and to take a look at my diary. In
plainer words I must see what I risk if I decide on trusting you; and my diary will
show me what my head is too weary to calculate without help. I have written the
story of my days (and sometimes the story of my nights) much more regularly
than usual for the last week, having reasons of my own for being particularly
careful in this respect under present circumstances. If I end in doing what it is
now in my mind to do, it would be madness to trust to my memory. The smallest
forgetfulness of the slightest event that has happened from the night of my
interview with Midwinter to the present time might be utter ruin to me.
"'Utter ruin to her!' you will say. 'What kind of ruin does she mean?'
"Wait a little, till I have asked my diary whether I can safely tell you."