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BERNARD WINTERFIELD'S CORRESPONDENCE.
_From Mrs. Romayne to Mr. Winterfield._
HAS my letter failed to reach you? I directed it (as I direct this) to
Beaupark, not knowing your London address.
Yesterday, Father Benwell called at Ten Acres Lodge. He first saw my
mother and myself and he contrived to mention your name. It was done
with his usual adroitness, and I might perhaps have passed it over if
he had not looked at me. I hope and pray it may be only my fancy--but
I thought I saw, in his eyes, that he was conscious of having me in his
power, and that he might betray me to my husband at any moment.
I have no sort of claim on you. And, Heaven knows, I have little
reason to trust you. But I thought you meant fairly by me when we spoke
together at this house. In that belief, I entreat you to tell me if
Father Benwell has intruded himself into your confidence--or even if you
have hinted anything to him which gives him a hold over me.
_From Mr. Winterfield to Mrs. Romayne._
Both your letters have reached me.
I have good reason for believing that you are entirely mistaken in your
estimate of Father Benwell's character. But I know, by sad experience,
how you hold to your opinions when they are once formed; and I am eager
to relieve you of all anxiety, so far as I am concerned. I have not
said one word--I have not even let slip the slightest hint--which could
inform Father Benwell of that past event in our lives to which your
letter alludes. Your secret is a sacred secret to me; and it has been,
and shall be, sacredly kept.
There is a sentence in your letter which has given me great pain. You
reiterate the cruel language of the bygone time. You say, "Heaven knows
I have little reason to trust you."
I have reasons, on my side, for not justifying myself--except under
certain conditions. I mean under conditions which might place me in a
position to serve and advise you as a friend or brother. In that case,
I undertake to prove, even to you, that it was a cruel injustice ever
to have doubted me, and that there is no man living whom you can more
implicitly trust than myself.
My address, when I am in London, is at the head of this page.
_From Dr. Wybrow to Mr. Winterfield._
Dear Sir--I have received your letter, mentioning that you wish to
accompany me, at my next visit to the asylum, to see the French boy, so
strangely associated with the papers delivered to you by Father Benwell.
Your proposal reaches me too late. The poor creature's troubled life
has come to an end. He never rallied from the exhausting effect of the
fever. To the last he was attended by his mother.
I write with true sympathy for that excellent lady--but I cannot conceal
from you or from myself that this death is not to be regretted. In a
case of the same extraordinary kind, recorded in print, the patient
recovered from the fever, and his insanity returned with his returning
Faithfully yours, JOSEPH WYBROW.
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