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her mind back on the troubled and the terrible

The only events of former days which we
ventured on encouraging her to recal, were the little
trivial domestic events of that happy time at
Limmeridge, when I first went there, and taught
her to draw. The day when I roused those
remembrances by showing her the sketch of the
summer-house which she had given me on the
morning of our farewell, and which had never
been separated from me since, was the birthday
of our first hope. Tenderly and gradually, the
memory of the old walks and drives dawned
upon her; and the poor weary pining eyes, looked
at Marian and at me with a new interest, with a
faltering thoughtfulness in them, which, from
that moment, we cherished and kept alive. I
bought her a little box of colours, and a sketch-book
like the old sketch-book which I had seen
in her hands on the morning when we first met.
Once againoh me, once again!—at spare hours
saved from my work, in the dull London light,
in the poor London room, I sat by her side, to
guide the faltering touch, to help the feeble hand.
Day by day, I raised and raised the new interest
till its place in the blank of her existence was at
last assuredtill she could think of her drawing,
and talk of it, and patiently practise it by herself,
with some faint reflexion of the innocent
pleasure in my encouragement, the growing
enjoyment in her own progress which belonged to
the lost life and the lost happiness of past days.

We helped her mind slowly by this simple
means; we took her out between us to walk, on
fine days, in a quiet old City square, near at
hand, where there was nothing to confuse or
alarm her; we spared a few pounds from the
fund at the banker's to get her wine, and the
delicate strengthening food that she required; we
amused her in the evenings with children's games
at cards, with scrap-books full of prints which I
borrowed from the engraver who employed me
by these, and other trifling attentions like them,
we composed her and steadied her, and hoped all
things, as cheerfully as we could, from time and
care, and love that never neglected and never
despaired of her. But to take her mercilessly
from seclusion and repose; to confront her with
strangers, or with acquaintances who were little
better than strangers; to rouse the painful
impressions of her past life which we had so carefully
hushed to restthis, even in her own interests,
we dared not do. Whatever sacrifices
it cost, whatever long, weary, heart-breaking
delays it involved, the wrong that had been
inflicted on her, if mortal means could grapple it,
must be redressed without her knowledge and
without her help.

This resolution settled, it was next necessary
to decide how the first risk should be ventured,
and what the first proceedings should be.

After consulting with Marian, I resolved to
begin by gathering together as many facts as
could be collectedthen, to ask the advice of
Mr. Kyrle (whom we knew we could trust); and
to ascertain from him, in the first instance, if
the legal remedy lay fairly within our reach. I
owed it to Laura's interests not to stake her
whole future on my own unaided exertions, so
long as there was the faintest prospect of
strengthening our position by obtaining reliable
assistance of any kind.

The first source of information to which I
applied, was the journal kept at Blackwater
Park by Marian Halcombe. There were
passages in this diary, relating to myself, which she
thought it best that I should not see. Accordingly,
she read to me from the manuscript, and
I took the notes I wanted as she went on. We
could only find time to pursue this occupation
by sitting up late at night. Three nights were
devoted to the purpose, and were enough to
put me in possession of all that Marian could

My next proceeding was to gain as much
additional evidence as I could procure from,
other people, without exciting suspicion. I went
myself to Mrs. Vesey to ascertain if Laura's
impression of having slept there, was correct or
not. In this case, from consideration for Mrs.
Vesey's age and infirmity, and in all subsequent
cases of the same kind from considerations of
caution, I kept our real position a secret, and
was always careful to speak of Laura as "the
late Lady Glyde."

Mrs. Vesey's answer to my inquiries only
confirmed the apprehensions which I had
previously felt. Laura had certainly written to say
she would pass the night under the roof of her
old friendbut she had never been near the
house. Her mind, in this instance, and, as I
feared, in other instances besides, confusedly
presented to her something which she had only
intended to do in the false light of something
which she had really done. The unconscious
contradiction of herself was easy to account for
in this waybut it was likely to lead to serious
results. It was a stumble on the threshold at
starting; it was a flaw in the evidence which
told fatally against us.

I next instructed Marian to write (observing
the same caution which I practised myself) to
Mrs. Michelson. She was to express, if she
pleased, some general suspicion of Count Fosco's
conduct; and she was to ask the housekeeper
to supply us with a plain statement of events,
in the interests of truth. While we were waiting
for the answer, which reached us in a week's
time, I went to the doctor in St. John's Wood;
introducing myself as sent by Miss Halcombe
to collect, if possible, more particulars of her
sister's last illness than Mr. Kyrle had found the
time to procure. By Mr. Goodricke's assistance,
I obtained a copy of the certificate of
death, and an interview with the woman (Jane
Gould) who had been employed to prepare the
body for the grave. Through this person, I also
discovered a means of communicating with the
servant, Hester Pinhorn. She had recently left
her place, in consequence of a disagreement with
her mistress; and she was lodging with some
people in the neighbourhood whom Mrs. Gould
knew. In the manner here indicated, I obtained
the Narratives of the housekeeper, of the doctor,