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Chapter 44 (continued)
"For God's sake tell me, is she out of danger, or is she not?"
"We hope she is."
He rose up, and walked across the room.
"Had I known as much half an hour ago--But since I AM here,"--speaking with a forced vivacity as he returned to his seat--"what does it signify?--For once, Miss Dashwood--it will be the last time, perhaps--let us be cheerful together.--I am in a fine mood for gaiety.-- Tell me honestly"--a deeper glow overspreading his cheeks-- "do you think me most a knave or a fool?"
Elinor looked at him with greater astonishment than ever. She began to think that be must be in liquor;--the strangeness of such a visit, and of such manners, seemed no otherwise intelligible; and with this impression she immediately rose, saying,
"Mr. Willoughby, I advise you at present to return to Combe--I am not at leisure to remain with you longer.-- Whatever your business may be with me, will it be better recollected and explained to-morrow."
"I understand you," he replied, with an expressive smile, and a voice perfectly calm; "yes, I am very drunk.-- A pint of porter with my cold beef at Marlborough was enough to over-set me."
"At Marlborough!"--cried Elinor, more and more at a loss to understand what he would be at.
"Yes,--I left London this morning at eight o'clock, and the only ten minutes I have spent out of my chaise since that time procured me a nuncheon at Marlborough."
The steadiness of his manner, and the intelligence of his eye as he spoke, convincing Elinor, that whatever other unpardonable folly might bring him to Cleveland, he was not brought there by intoxication, she said, after a moment's recollection,
"Mr. Willoughby, you OUGHT to feel, and I certainly DO--that after what has passed--your coming here in this manner, and forcing yourself upon my notice, requires a very particular excuse.--What is it, that you mean by it?"--
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