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ii

for nearly a week the breach between them remained unhealed. trina only spoke to the dentist in monosyllables, while he, exasperated at her calmness and frigid reserve, sulked in his "dental parlors," muttering terrible things beneath his mustache, or finding solace in his concertina, playing his six lugubrious airs over and over again, or swearing frightful oaths at his canary, woodstock.

it is one thing to mortify curiosity, another to conquer it; and it may be doubted if, from that day forth, utterson desired the society of his surviving friend with the same eagerness. he thought of him kindly; but his thoughts were disquieted and fearful. he went to call indeed; but he was perhaps relieved to be denied admittance; perhaps, in his heart, he preferred to speak with poole upon the doorstep and surrounded by the air and sounds of the open city, rather than to be admitted into that house of voluntary bondage, and to sit and speak with its inscrutable recluse. poole had, indeed, no very pleasant news to communicate. the doctor, it appeared, now more than ever confined himself to the cabinet over the laboratory, where he would sometimes even sleep; he was out of spirits, he had grown very silent, he did not read; it seemed as if he had something on his mind. utterson became so used to the unvarying character of these reports, that he fell off little by little in the frequency of his visits.

it was a beautiful morning in the late july when i set forth on foot for the last time for aros. a boat had put me ashore the night before at grisapol; i had such breakfast as the little inn afforded, and, leaving all my baggage till i had an occasion to come round for it by sea, struck right across the promontory with a cheerful heart.

i was far from being a native of these parts, springing, as i did, from an unmixed lowland stock. but an uncle of mine, gordon darnaway, after a poor, rough youth, and some years at sea, had married a young wife in the islands; mary maclean she was called, the last of her family; and when she died in giving birth to a daughter, aros, the sea-girt farm, had remained in his possession. it brought him in nothing but the means of life, as i was well aware; but he was a man whom ill-fortune had pursued; he feared, cumbered as he was with the young child, to make a fresh adventure upon life; and remained in aros, biting his nails at destiny. years passed over his head in that isolation, and brought neither help nor contentment.

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