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Epilogue: (Page 2)


II.

From MISS GRACE ROSEBERRY to MR. HORACE HOLMCROFT.

"DEAR MR. HOLMCROFT--I snatch a few moments from my other avocations to thank you for your most interesting and delightful letter. How well you describe, how accurately you judge! If Literature stood a little higher as a profession, I should almost advise you--but no! if you entered Literature, how could you associate with the people whom you would be likely to meet?

"Between ourselves, I always thought Mr. Julian Gray an overrated man. I will not say he has justified my opinion. I will only say I pity him. But, dear Mr. Holmcroft, how can you, with your sound judgment, place the sad alternatives now before him on the same level? To die in Green Anchor Fields, or to fall into the clutches of that vile wretch--is there any comparison between the two? Better a thousand times die at the post of duty than marry Mercy Merrick.

"As I have written the creature's name, I may add--so as to have all the sooner done with the subject--that I shall look with anxiety for your next letter. Do not suppose that I feel the smallest curiosity about this degraded and designing woman. My interest in her is purely religious. To persons of my devout turn of mind she is an awful warning. When I feel Satan near me--it will be such a means of grace to think of Mercy Merrick!

"Poor Lady Janet! I noticed those signs of mental decay to which you so feelingly allude at the last interview I had with her in Mablethorpe House. If you can find an opportunity, will you say that I wish her well, here and hereafter? and will you please add that I do not omit to remember her in my prayers?

"There is just a chance of my visiting England toward the close of the autumn. My fortunes have changed since I wrote last. I have been received as reader and companion by a lady who is the wife of one of our high judicial functionaries in this part of the world. I do not take much interest in him; he is what they call a 'self-made man.' His wife is charming. Besides being a person of highly intellectual tastes, she is greatly her husband's superior--as you will understand when I tell you that she is related to the Gommerys of Pommery; not the Pommerys of Gommery, who (as your knowledge of our old families will inform you) only claim kindred with the younger branch of that ancient race.

"In the elegant and improving companionship which I now enjoy I should feel quite happy but for one drawback. The climate of Canada is not favorable to my kind patroness, and her medical advisers recommend her to winter in London. In this event, I am to have t he privilege of accompanying her. Is it necessary to add that my first visit will be paid at your house? I feel already united by sympathy to your mother and your sisters. There is a sort of freemasonry among gentlewomen, is there not? With best thanks and remembrances, and many delightful anticipations of your next letter, believe me, dear Mr. Holmcroft,

"Truly yours,

GRACE ROSEBERRY."

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