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lawyers who practiced there and had offices nearby included

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"It shows that I'm in a position to ask her," said Tom. "If she could only bring herself not to hate me -- "

lawyers who practiced there and had offices nearby included

"There is a difference, Tom, between hating and not loving." "If she would only begin to make a little way, then I could hope again. Uncle Reginald, could you not tell her that at any rate I would be good to her?"

lawyers who practiced there and had offices nearby included

"I think you would be good to her," he said.

lawyers who practiced there and had offices nearby included

"Indeed, I would. There is nothing I would not do for her. Now will you let me see her just once again, and have one other chance?" This was the great thing which Tom desired from his uncle, and Mr Dosett was so much softened by his nephew's earnestness that he did promise to do as much as this -- to do as much as this, at least, if it were in his power. Of course, Ayala must be told. No good could be done by surprising her by a visit. But he would endeavour so to arrange it that, if Tom were to come to him on the following afternoon, they two should go to the Crescent together, and then Tom should remain and dine there -- or go away before dinner, as he might please, after the interview. This was settled, and Tom left Somerset House, rejoicing greatly at his success. It seemed to him that now at last a way was open to him.

Uncle Reginald, on his return home, took his niece aside and talked to her very gently and very kindly. "Whether you like him or whether you do not, my dear, he is so true to you that you are bound to see him again when he asks it." At first she was very stout, declaring that she would not see him. Of what good could it be, seeing that she would rather throw herself into the Thames than marry him? Had she not told him so over and over again, as often as he had spoken to her? Why would he not just leave her alone? But against all this her uncle pleaded gently but persistently. He had considered himself bound to promise so much on her behalf, and for his sake she must do as he asked. To this, of course, she yielded. And then he said many good things of poor Tom. His constancy was a great virtue. A man so thoroughly in love would no doubt make a good husband. And then there would be the assent of all the family, and an end, as far as Ayala was concerned, of all pecuniary trouble. In answer to this she only shook her head, promising, however, that she would be ready to give Tom an audience when he should be brought to the Crescent on the following day.

Punctually at four Tom made his appearance at Somerset House, and started with his uncle as soon as the index-books had been put in their places. Tom was very anxious to take his uncle home in a cab, but Mr Dosett would not consent to lose his walk. Along the Embankment they went, and across Charing Cross into St James's Park, and then by Green Park, Hyde Park, and Kensington Gardens, all the way to Notting Hill. Mr Dosett did not walk very fast, and Tom thought they would never reach Kingsbury Crescent. His uncle would fain have talked about the weather, of politics, or the hardships of the Civil Service generally; but Tom would not be diverted from his one subject. Would Ayala be gracious to him? Mr Dosett had made up his mind to say nothing on the subject. Tom must plead his own cause. Uncle Reginald thought that he knew such pleading would be useless, but still would not say a word to daunt the lover. Neither could he say a word expressive of hope. As they were fully an hour and a half on their walk, this reticence was difficult.

Immediately on his arrival, Tom was taken up into the drawing-room. This was empty, for it had been arranged that Mrs Dosett should be absent till the meeting was over. "Now I'll look for this child," said Uncle Reginald, in his cheeriest voice as he left Tom alone in the room. Tom, as he looked round at the chairs and tables, remembered that he had never received as much as a kind word or look in the room, and then great drops of perspiration broke out all over his brow. All that he had to hope for in the world must depend upon the next five minutes -- might depend perhaps upon the very selection of the words which he might use. Then Ayala entered the room and stood before him.

"Ayala," he said, giving her his hand.

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