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With regard to that momentous point—M. Paul’s fate—in case any one in future should request to be enlightened thereon—they may be told that it was designed that every reader should settle the catastrophe for himself, according to the quality of his disposition, the tender or remorseless impulse of his nature—Drowning and Matrimony are the fearful alternatives. The merciful—like Miss Mulock, Mr Williams, Lady Harriet St Clair and Mr Alexander Frazer—will of course choose the former and milder doom—drown him to put him out of pain. The cruel-hearted will on the contrary pitilessly impale him on the second horn of the dilemma—marrying him without ruth or compunction to that—person—that—that—individual— “Lucy Snowe.”

—Charlotte Brontë toying with her publisher, 26 March 1853

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