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    So saying, Dr. Ashleigh held out his hand to the man before him, and Robert Gregory, as he grasped it, experienced a feeling of real gratification. He knew that this was a truly good man, and that his course towards Sophy was in no way altered by the fact of her being an heiress, but because she had been forgiven by his old friend Mr. Harmer, and for the sake of the many years of affectionate intercourse he had had with herself. He was gratified, too, by what the Doctor had said respecting himself, for the countenance and friendship of a good man can be appreciated even by the worst character. And so Robert Gregory took his leave of Dr. Ashleigh and returned to town with a softened, although exultant heart. The Doctor then went over to Harmer Place and saw the sisters. They passed most of their time in their own rooms, engaged in earnest prayer for the benefit of their brother's soul; and once, when the Doctor had been there, they spoke to him in glowing terms of the power which their church possessed to forgive all sins, even the greatest. While they thus spoke their eyes lit up with a strange, passionate fervour of religious zeal—that fierce, burning zeal, which has for so many centuries made men equally ready to martyrize others or to die martyrs themselves—that zeal which has led some to give up all worldly goods, and live the life of wandering beggars, and others to allow no scruple to interfere with any deed which can enrich and benefit the church to which they belong. To these remarks Dr. Ashleigh returned no answer; he was at all times indisposed to enter into religious arguments, and with women in the exalted state of mind in which the Misses Harmer were, it would have been worse than useless. On this occasion, however, he found them both in a calmer state, and he mentioned to them that he had seen Robert Gregory, and that he spoke of coming up on the part of his wife after the funeral. For a minute or so they were silent, and then Miss Harmer said, with stern vehemence,—
    "By Jove," Harry exclaimed, "we shall find it yet!" while papa and Mr. Petersfield uttered exclamations of surprise and satisfaction.


    1.Had papa known all that had passed at that interview between Sophy Needham and Robert Gregory, he would not have ridden out to Ramsgate with his news, but would have acted upon it there and then, and perhaps I should never have written this story; or, if I had done so, it would have been very different to what it is.
    2.The wounded man shook his head.
    3."I am not likely to scream, although I am an old woman," Miss Harmer had answered grimly; and the only result of Father Eustace's warning had been, that Miss Harmer had ordered a brace of her brother's pistols to be cleaned and loaded, and placed on the table at her bedside; and it was the duty of the gardener to discharge and reload these pistols every other morning, so that they might be in perfect order if required.
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