A Rogue's Life (Chapter 8, page 1 of 12)

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Chapter 8

I WENT back to the fishing-place with a heavy heart, overcome by
mournful thoughts, for the first time in my life. It was plain that
she did not dislike me, and equally plain that there was some obstacle
connected with her father, which forbade her to listen to my offer of
marriage. From the time when she had accidentally looked toward the
red-brick house, something in her manner which it is quite impossible
to describe, had suggested to my mind that this obstacle was not only
something she could not mention, but something that she was partly
ashamed of, partly afraid of, and partly doubtful about. What could it
be? How had she first known it? In what way was her father connected
with it?

In the course of our walks she had told me nothing about herself which
was not perfectly simple and unsuggestive.

Her childhood had been passed in England. After that, she had lived with
her father and mother at Paris, where the doctor had many friends--for
all of whom she remembered feeling more or less dislike, without being
able to tell why. They had then come to England, and had lived in
lodgings in London. For a time they had been miserably poor. But, after
her mother's death--a sudden death from heart disease--there had come a
change in their affairs, which she was quite unable to explain. They had
removed to their present abode, to give the doctor full accommodation
for the carrying on of his scientific pursuits. He often had occasion to
go to London; but never took her with him. The only woman at home
now, beside herself, was an elderly person, who acted as cook and
housekeeper, and who had been in their service for many years. It was
very lonely sometimes not having a companion of her own age and sex;
but she had got tolerably used to bear it, and to amuse herself with her
books, and music, and flowers.

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