Page:Oliver Twist (1838) vol. 3.djvu/290

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

next day, when he died. Among the papers in his desk were two, dated on the night his illness first came on, directed to yourself, and enclosed in a few short lines to you, with an intimation on the cover of the package that it was not to be forwarded till after he was dead. One of these papers was a letter to this girl Agnes, and the other a will."

"What of the letter?" asked Mr. Brownlow.

"The letter?—A sheet of paper crossed and crossed again, with a penitent confession, and prayers to God to help her. He had palmed a tale on the girl that some secret mystery to be explained one day—prevented his marrying her just then; and so she had gone on trusting patiently to him until she trusted too far, and lost what none could ever give her back. She was at that time within a few months of her confinement. He told her all he had meant to do to hide her shame, if he had lived, and prayed her, if he died, not to curse his memory, or think the consequences of their sin would be visited on her or their young child; for all the guilt was his. He