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[1048] companions she never sought; but they, partly from uneasy, remorseful feelings, partly that they really liked her much better now that she did not puzzle and oppress them, sought her continually. And here the black shadow cones upon her life, the only stain upon the history of Mariana.

They talked to her, as girls having few topics naturally do, of one another. Then the demon rose within her, and spontaneously, without design, generally without words of positive falsehood, she became a genius of discord amongst them. She fanned those flames of envy and jealousy which a wise, true word from a third person will often quench forever; and by a glance, or seemingly light reply, she planted the seeds of dissension, till there was scarcely a peaceful affection, or sincere intimacy, in the circle where she lived, and could not but rule, for she was one whose nature was to that of the others as fire to clay.

It was at this time that I came to the school, and first saw Mariana. Me she charmed at once, for I was a sentimental child, who, in my early ill health, had been indulged in reading novels, till I had no eyes for the common. It was not, however, easy to approach her. Did I offer to run and fetch her handkerchief, she was obliged to go to her room, and would rather do it herself. She did not like to have people turn over for her the leaves of the music-book as she played. Did I approach my stool to her feet, she moved away as if to give me room. The bunch of wild flowers, which I timidly laid beside her plate, was left untouched.

After some weeks, my desire to attract her notice really preyed upon me; and one day, meeting her alone in the entry, I fell upon my knees, and, kissing her hand, cried,

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