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Fenton's Quest
written by "Braddon, M. E. (Mary Elizabeth), 1835-1915"
...d pounds." "I daresay he guesses the truth," Ellen said, with a profound sigh. It seemed to her the bitterest trial of all, that her father's wrong-doing should be known to Stephen Whitelaw. That hideous prospect of the dock and the gaol was far off as yet; she had not even begun to realise it; but she did fully realise the fact of her father's shame, and the blow seemed to her a heavy one, heavier than she could bear. For some minutes there was silence between father and daughter. The girl sat with her face hidden in her hands; the bailiff smoked his pipe in sullen meditation. "Is there no other way?" Ellen asked at last, in a plaintive despairing tone; "no other way, father?" "None," growled William Carley. "You needn't ask me that question again; there is no other way; you can get me out of my difficulties if you choose. I should never have been so venturesome as I was, if I hadn't made sure my daughter would soon be a rich woman. You can save me if you like, or you can hold-off and let me go to prison. There's no good preaching about it or arguing about it; you've got the choice and you must make it. Most young women in your place would think themselves uncommon lucky to have such a chance as you've got, instead of making a trouble about it, let alone being able to get their father out of a scrape. But you're your own mistress, and you must do as you please." "Let me have time to think," the girl pleaded piteously; "let me have only a little time to think, father. And you do believe that I'm sorry for you, don't you?" she asked, kneeling beside him and clasping his unwilling hand. "O father, I hope you believe that!" "I shall know what to believe when I know what you're going to do," the bailiff answered moodily; and his daughter knew him too well to hope for any more gracious speech than this. She bade him good-night, and w...

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