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Hello

In her diffident attempt to maintain secrecy she had left Alchester without the precaution of obtaining a testimonial. This she recognized as the action of a fool ....

--- Does it mean "Not believing herself that she will manage to keep it secret ...."? And "Not knowing whether she will obtain references"? Is my paraphrasing correct?

He wrote on thick smooth paper which justified the. term ‘cream-laid’. His writing was small, elegant, meticulously legible. It called up an imaginary vision of the writer, plump, rubicund ...

--- I'm wondering why there is a dot after the word "the"? Does "cream-laid" mean that the paper had a creamy color?

Thanks
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Hi,

In her diffident attempt to maintain secrecy in a shy, hesitant way she was trying to keep her actions secret

she had left Alchester without the precaution of obtaining a testimonial. she left wthout being careful to get a reference from her employer before she left

This she recognized as the action of a fool ..

--- Does it mean "Not believing herself that she will manage to keep it secret ...."? And "Not knowing whether she will obtain references"? Is my paraphrasing correct? No, see above.

He wrote on thick smooth paper which justified the. term ‘cream-laid’. His writing was small, elegant, meticulously legible. It called up an imaginary vision of the writer, plump, rubicund ...

--- I'm wondering why there is a dot after the word "the"? Just seems like a typo.

Does "cream-laid" mean that the paper had a creamy color? Yes. It sounds like a rich, thick, expensive kind of paper.

Clive
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Thank you Clive!