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The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Bronte Hargrave; you ought to be aware that whatever my husband’s faults may be, it can only aggravate the evil for me to hear them from a stranger’s lips.’ ‘Am I then a stranger?’ said he in a sorrowful tone. ‘I am your nearest neighbour, your son’s godfather, and your husband’s friend; may I not be yours also?’ ‘Intimate acquaintance must precede real friendship; I know but little of you, Mr. Hargrave, except from report.’ ‘Have you then forgotten the six or seven weeks I spent under your roof last autumn? I have not forgotten them. And I know enough of you, Mrs. Huntingdon, to think that your husband is the most enviable man in the world, and I should be the next if you would deem me worthy of your friendship.’ ‘If you knew more of me, you would not think it, or if you did you would not say it, and expect me to be flattered by the compliment.’ I stepped backward as I spoke. He saw that I wished the conversation to end; and immediately taking the hint, he gravely bowed, wished me good-evening, and turned his horse towards the road. He appeared grieved and hurt at my unkind reception of his sympathising overtures. I was not sure that I had done right in speaking so harshly to him; but, at the time, I had felt irritated—almost insulted by his conduct; it seemed as if he was presuming upon the absence and neglect of my husband, and insinuating even more than the truth against him.


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