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how can I be angry with you?”

And then she turned to him and gave him her face to kiss almost before he had again asked for it. "He shall not at any rate think that I am unkind to him, and it will not matter now," she said to herself, as she walked slowly across the lawn, in the dark, up to her mother's drawing-room window.

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'Well, dearest," said Mrs. Dale, who was there alone; “did the beards wag merry in the Great Hall this evening? That was a joke with them, for neither Crosbie nor Bernard Dale used a razor at his toilet.

"Not specially merry. And I think it was my fault, for I have a headache. Mamma, I believe I will go at once to bed." 'My darling, is there anything wrong?"

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Nothing, mamma. But we had such a long ride; and then Adolphus is going, and of course we have so much to say. Tomorrow will be the last day, for I shall only just see him on Wednesday morning; and as I want to be well, if possible, I'll go to bed." And so she took her candle and went.

When Bell came up, Lily was still awake, but she begged her sister not to disturb her. "Don't talk to me, Bell," she said. "I'm trying to make myself quiet, and I half feel that I should get childish if I went on talking. I have almost more to think of than I know how to manage.” And she strove, not altogether unsuccessfully, to speak with a cheery tone, as though the cares which weighed upon her were not unpleasant in their nature. Then her sister kissed her and left her to her thoughts.

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And she had great matter for thinking; so great, that many hours sounded in her ears from the clock on the stairs before she brought her thoughts to a shape that satisfied herself. She did so bring them at last, and then she slept. She did so bring them, toiling over her work with tears that made her pillow wet, with heart-burning and almost with heart-breaking, with much doubting, and many anxious, eager inquiries within her own bosom as to that which she ought to do, and that which she could endure to do. But at last her resolve was taken, and then she slept.

It had been agreed between them that Crosbie should come down to the Small House on the next day after breakfast, and remain there till the time came for riding. But Lily determined to alter this arrangement, and accordingly put on her hat immediately after breakfast, and posted herself at the bridge, so as to intercept her lover as he came. He soon appeared with his friend Dale, and she at once told him her purpose.

"I want to have a talk with you, Adolphus, before you go in to mamma; so come with me into the field."

"All right," said he.

"And Bernard can finish his cigar on the lawn. Mamma and Bell will join him there."

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'All right," said Bernard. So they separated; and Crosbie went away with Lily into the field where they had first learned to know each other in those haymaking days.

She did not say much till they were well away from the house; but answered what words he chose to speak,-not knowing very well of what he spoke. But when she considered that they had reached the proper spot, she began very abruptly.

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'Adolphus," she said, "I have something to say to you,something to which you must listen very carefully." Then he looked at her, and at once knew that she was in earnest.

"This is the last day on which I could say it," she continued; and I am very glad that I have not let the last day go by without saying it. I should not have known how to put it in a letter.'

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66

What is it, Lily?"

And I do not know that I can say it properly; but I hope that you will not be hard upon me. Adolphus, if you wish that all this between us should be over, I will consent."

"Lily!"

"I mean what I say. If you wish it, I will consent; and when I have said so, proposing it myself, you may be quite sure that I shall never blame you, if you take me at my word." (6 Are you tired of me, Lily?"

66 No. I shall never be tired of you,- -never weary with loving you. I did not wish to say so now; but I will answer your question boldly. Tired of you! I fancy that a girl can never grow tired of her lover. But I would sooner die in the struggle than be the cause of your ruin. It would be better,in every way better."

I have said nothing of being ruined."

66 But listen to me. I should not die if you left me,—not be utterly broken-hearted. Nothing on earth can I ever love as I have loved you. But I have a God and a Saviour that will be enough for me. I can turn to them with content, if it be well that you should leave me. I have gone to them, andBut at this moment she could utter no more words. She had broken down in her effort, losing her voice through the strength of her emotion. As she did not choose that he should see her

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overcome, she turned from him and walked away across the grass. Of course he followed her; but he was not so quick after her, but that time had been given to her to recover herself. It is true," she said. "I have the strength of which I tell you. Though I have given myself to you as your wife, I can bear to be divorced from you now,-now. And, my love, though it may sound heartless, I would sooner be so divorced from you, than cling to you as a log that must drag you down under the water, and drown you in trouble and care. I would;-indeed I would. If you go, of course that kind of thing is over for me. But the world has more than that,-much more; and I would make myself happy;-yes, my love, I would be happy. You need not fear that."

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But, Lily, why is all this said to me here to-day?"

"Because it is my duty to say it. I understand all your position now, though it is only now. It never flashed on me till yesterday. When you proposed to me, you thought that I, -that I had some fortune."

"Never mind that now, Lily."

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But you did. I see it all now. I ought perhaps to have told you that it was not so. There has been the mistake, and we are both sufferers. But we need not make the suffering deeper than needs be. My love, you are free,-from this moment. And even my heart shall not blame you for accepting your freedom."

"And are you afraid of poverty?" he asked her.

I am afraid of poverty for you. You and I have lived differently. Luxuries, of which I know nothing, have been your daily comforts. I tell you I can bear to part with you, but I cannot bear to become the source of your unhappiness. Yes; I will bear it; and none shall dare in my hearing to speak against you. I have brought you here to say the word; nay, more than that, to advise you to say it."

He stood silent for a moment, during which he held her by the hand. She was looking into his face, but he was looking away into the clouds; striving to appear as though he was the master of the occasion. But during those moments his mind was wracked with doubt. What if he should take her at her word? Some few would say bitter things against him, but such bitter things had been said against many another man without harming him. Would it not be well for both if he should take her at her word? She would recover and love again, as other girls had done; and as for him, he would thus escape from the

ruin at which he had been gazing for the last week past. For it was ruin,-utter ruin. He did love her; so he declared to himself. But was he a man who ought to throw the world away for love? Such men there were; but was he one of them? Could he be happy in that small house, somewhere near the New Road, with five children and horrid misgivings as to the baker's bill? Of all men living, was not he the last that should have allowed himself to fall into such a trap? All this passed through his mind as he turned his face up to the clouds with a look that was intended to be grand and noble.

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Speak to me, Adolphus, and say that it shall be so."

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Then his heart misgave him, and he lacked the courage to extricate himself from his trouble; or, as he afterwards said to himself, he had not the heart to do it. If I understand you, rightly, Lily, all this comes from no want of love on your own part?

"Want of love on my part? But you should not ask me that." 66 Until you tell me that there is such a want, I will agree to no parting." Then he took her hand and put it within his arm. No, Lily; whatever may be our cares and troubles, we are bound together, indissolubly."

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"Are we?" said she; and as she spoke, her voice trembled, and her hand shook.

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Much too firmly for any such divorce as that. No, Lily, I claim the right to tell you all my troubles; but I shall not let you go."

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But, Adolphus-" and the hand on his arm was beginning to cling to it again.

Adolphus," said he, "has got nothing more to say on that subject. He exercises the right which he believes to be his own, and chooses to retain the prize which he has won."

She was now clinging to him in very truth. Oh, my love!" she said. "I do not know how to say it again. It is of you that I am thinking;-of you, of you!"

"I know you are; but you have misunderstood me a little; that's all."

"Have I? Then listen to me again, once more, my heart's own darling, my love, my husband, my lord! If I cannot be to you at once like Ruth, and never cease from coming after you, my thoughts to you shall be like those of Ruth:-if aught but death part thee and me, may God do so to me and more also." Then she fell upon his breast and wept.

He still hardly understood the depth of her character. He

was not himself deep enough to comprehend it all. But yet he was awed by her great love, and exalted to a certain solemnity of feeling which for the time made him rejoice in his late decision. For a few hours he was minded to throw the world behind him, and wear this woman, as such a woman should be worn,—as a comforter to him in all things, and a strong shield against great troubles. Lily," he said, "my own Lily!"

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"Yes, your own, to take when you please, and leave untaken while you please; and as much your own in one way as in the other." Then she looked up again, and essayed to laugh as she did so. "You will think I am frantic, but I am so happy. I don't care about your going now; indeed I don't. There; you may go now, this minute, if you like it." And she withdrew her hand from his. "I feel so differently from what I have done for the last few days. I am so glad you have spoken to me as you did. Of course I ought to bear all those things with you. But I cannot be unhappy about it now. I wonder if I went to work and made a lot of things, whether that would help?” "A set of shirts for me, for instance?

"I could do that, at any rate."

"It may come to that yet, some of these days."

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66 I pray God that it may.' Then again she was serious, and the tears came once more into her eyes. I pray God that it may. To be of use to you,-to work for you,—to do something for you that may have in it some sober, earnest purport of usefulness; that is what I want above all things. I want to be with you at once that I may be of service to you. Would that you and I were alone together, that I might do everything for you. I sometimes think that a very poor man's wife is the happiest, because she does do everything."

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You shall do everything very soon," said he; and then they sauntered along pleasantly through the morning hours, and when they again appeared at Mrs. Dale's table, Mrs. Dale and Bell were astonished at Lily's brightness. All her old ways had seemed to return to her, and she made her little saucy speeches to Mr. Crosbie as she had used to do when he was first becoming fascinated by her sweetness. "You know that you'll be such a swell when you get to that countess's house that you'll forget all about Allington.'

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"Of course I shall," said he.

And the paper you write upon will be all over coronets,that is, if ever you do write. Perhaps you will to Bernard some day, just to show that you are staying at a castle."

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