The Woman in White HTML version

The Story Continued By Marian Halcombe
[1] The passages omitted, here and elsewhere, in Miss Halcombe's Diary are only those
which bear no reference to Miss Fairlie or to any of the persons with whom she is
associated in these pages.
This morning Mr. Gilmore left us.
His interview with Laura had evidently grieved and surprised him more than he liked to
confess. I felt afraid, from his look and manner when we parted, that she might have
inadvertently betrayed to him the real secret of her depression and my anxiety. This doubt
grew on me so, after he had gone, that I declined riding out with Sir Percival, and went
up to Laura's room instead.
I have been sadly distrustful of myself, in this difficult and lamentable matter, ever since
I found out my own ignorance of the strength of Laura's unhappy attachment. I ought to
have known that the delicacy and forbearance and sense of honour which drew me to
poor Hartright, and made me so sincerely admire and respect him, were just the qualities
to appeal most irresistibly to Laura's natural sensitiveness and natural generosity of
nature. And yet, until she opened her heart to me of her own accord, I had no suspicion
that this new feeling had taken root so deeply. I once thought time and care might remove
it. I now fear that it will remain with her and alter her for life. The discovery that I have
committed such an error in judgment as this makes me hesitate about everything else. I
hesitate about Sir Percival, in the face of the plainest proofs. I hesitate even in speaking to
Laura. On this very morning I doubted, with my hand on the door, whether I should ask
her the questions I had come to put, or not.
When I went into her room I found her walking up and down in great impatience. She
looked flushed and excited, and she came forward at once, and spoke to me before I
could open my lips.
"I wanted you," she said. "Come and sit down on the sofa with me. Marian! I can bear
this no longer--I must and will end it."
There was too much colour in her cheeks, too much energy in her manner, too much
firmness in her voice. The little book of Hartright's drawings--the fatal book that she will
dream over whenever she is alone--was in one of her hands. I began by gently and firmly
taking it from her, and putting it out of sight on a side-table.
"Tell me quietly, my darling, what you wish to do," I said. "Has Mr. Gilmore been
advising you?"
She shook her head. "No, not in what I am thinking of now. He was very kind and good
to me, Marian, and I am ashamed to say I distressed him by crying. I am miserably