"Tell him," said the minister. "Perhaps you put it too cautiously. Tell him in words that he cannot mistake, what sort of life you mean to lead."
The little girl hesitated and looked at Norton. Norton, like one acting under protest, looked at her. They waited, questioning each other's faces.
"It is that, Norton," Matilda said at last very gently, and with a sort of tenderness in tone and manner which spoke for her. "It is just that you said. I do not think that my hand is my own."
Norton looked at the little hand unconsciously extended to point her words, as if he would have liked to confiscate it; he made no reply, but turned to his supper again. The conversation had taken a turn he did not welcome.
"We have not done with the subject," Mr. Richmond went on. "You see how it touches me now, and how it touches Matilda. You know by your own shewing, what sort of life she ought to lead; and so you will know how you ought to help her and not hinder her in it. But Norton,
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