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 She protested too much, perhaps, but the event seemed to show that she was in earnest. I have described these two first visits of mine in some detail, but they were not the only ones I paid her. I saw her several times again, before she left town, and we became intimate, as London intimacies1 are measured. She ceased to protest (to my relief, for it made me nervous), she was very gentle, and gracious, and reasonable, and there was something in the way she looked and spoke2 that told me that for the present she found renunciation its own reward. So far, my scepticism was put to shame; her spiritual ecstasy3 maintained itself. If I could have foreseen then that it would maintain itself till the present hour I should have felt that Lady Vandeleur’s moral nature is finer indeed than mine. I heard from her that Mr. Tester remained at his father’s, and that Lady Emily and her daughter were also there. The day for the wedding had been fixed4, and the preparations were going rapidly forward. Meanwhile—she didn’t tell me, but I gathered it from things she dropped—she was in almost daily correspondence with the young man. I thought this a strange concomitant of his bridal arrangements; but apparently5, henceforth, they were bent6 on convincing each other that the torch of virtue7 lighted their steps, and they couldn’t convince each other too much. She intimated to me that she had now effectually persuaded him (always by letter), that he would fail terribly if he should try to found his happiness on an injury done to another, and that of course she could never be happy (in a union with him), with the sight of his wretchedness before her. That a good deal of correspondence should be required to elucidate8 this is perhaps after all not remarkable9. One day, when I was sitting with her (it was just before she left town), she suddenly burst into tears. Before we parted I said to her that there were several women in London I liked very much,—that was common enough,—but for her I had a positive respect, and that was rare. My respect continues still, and it sometimes makes me furious.  
About the middle of January Ambrose Tester reappeared in town. He told me he came to bid me good-by. He was going to be beheaded. It was no use saying that old relations would be the same after a man was married; they would be different, everything would be different. I had wanted him to marry, and now I should see how I liked it He did n’t mention that I had also wanted him not to marry, and I was sure that if Lady Vandeleur had become his wife, she would have been a much greater impediment to our harmless friendship than Joscelind Bernardstone would ever be. It took me but a short time to observe that he was in very much the same condition as Lady Vandeleur. He was finding how sweet it is to renounce10, hand in hand with one we love. Upon him, too, the peace of the Lord had descended11. He spoke of his father’s delight at the nuptials12 being so near at hand; at the festivities that would take place in Dorsetshire when he should bring home his bride. The only allusion13 he made to what we had talked of the last time we were together was to exclaim suddenly, “How can I tell you how easy she has made it? She is so sweet, so noble. She really is a perfect creature!” I took for granted that he was talking of his future wife, but in a moment, as we were at cross-purposes, perceived that he meant Lady Vandeleur. This seemed to me really ominous14. It stuck in my mind after he had left me. I was half
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