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Chapter 43: Fanny's Revenge
"Do you want me any longer ma'am?" inquired Liddy, at a later hour the same evening, standing by the door with a chamber candlestick in her hand and addressing Bathsheba, who sat cheerless and alone in the large parlour beside the first fire of the season.
"No more to-night, Liddy."
"I'll sit up for master if you like, ma'am. I am not at all afraid of Fanny, if I may sit in my own room and have a candle. She was such a childlike, nesh young thing that her spirit couldn't appear to anybody if it tried, I'm quite sure."
"Oh no, no! You go to bed. I'll sit up for him myself till twelve o'clock, and if he has not arrived by that time, I shall give him up and go to bed too."
"It is half-past ten now."
"Oh! is it?"
"Why don't you sit upstairs, ma'am?"
"Why don't I?" said Bathsheba, desultorily. "It isn't worth while--there's a fire here, Liddy." She suddenly exclaimed in an impulsive and excited whisper, "Have you heard anything strange said of Fanny?" The words had no sooner escaped her than an expression of unutterable regret crossed her face, and she burst into tears.
"No--not a word!" said Liddy, looking at the weeping woman with astonishment. "What is it makes you cry so, ma'am; has anything hurt you?" She came to Bathsheba's side with a face full of sympathy.
"No, Liddy--I don't want you any more. I can hardly say why I have taken to crying lately: I never used to cry. Good-night."
Liddy then left the parlour and closed the door.
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