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"You said I might come," said Molly, "and that you would tell me all." "You know all, I think," said Cynthia, heavily. "Perhaps you don't know what excuses I have, but at any rate you know what a scrape I am in." "I've been thinking a great deal," said Molly, timidly and doubtfully. "And I can't help fancying if you told papa—" Before she could go on, Cynthia had stood up. "No!" said she. "That I won't. Unless I'm to leave here at once. And you know I have not another place to go to—without warning, I mean. I daresay my uncle would take me in; he's a relation, and would be bound to stand by me in whatever disgrace I might be; or perhaps I might get a governess's situation—a pretty governess I should be!" "Pray, please, Cynthia, don't go off into such wild talking. I don't believe you've done so very wrong. You say you have not, and I believe you. That horrid man has managed to get you involved in some way; but I am sure papa could set it to rights, if you would only make a friend of him, and tell him all—" "No, Molly," said Cynthia, "I can't, and there's an end of it. You may if you like, only let me leave the house first; give me that much time." "You know I would never tell anything you wished me not to tell, Cynthia," said Molly, deeply hurt. "Would you not, darling?" said Cynthia, taking her hand. "Will you promise me that? quite a sacred promise?—for it would be such a comfort to me to tell you all, now you know so much." "Yes! I'll promise not to tell. You should not have doubted me," said Molly, still a little sorrowfully. "Very well. I trust to you. I know I may." "But do think of telling papa, and getting him to help you," persevered Molly. "Never," said Cynthia, resolutely, but more quietly than before. "Do you think I forget what he said at the time of that wretched Mr. Coxe; how severe he was, and how long I was in disgrace, if indeed I'm out of it now? I am one of those people, as mamma says sometimes—I cannot live with persons who don't think well of me. It may be a weakness, or a sin,—I'm sure I don't know, and I don't care; but I really cannot be happy in the same house with any one who knows my faults, and thinks that they are greater than my merits. Now you know your father would do that. I have often told you that he (and you too, Molly,) had a higher standard than I had ever known. Oh, I couldn't bear it; if he were to know he would be so angry with me—he would never get over it, and I have so liked him! I do so like him!"
featured image - CYNTHIA'S CONFESSION.
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Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

Renowned English novelist, biographer and short story writer

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