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"What do you mean?"

"I mean" (in a tone where the persuasive is quite swamped in the imperative)" that I distinctly object to your dancing with Scrope."

"That is unfortunate," retorts Lenore, to whose ears the imperative has been, from her youth up, an unknown mood, and whose gorge has always risen at the faintest attempt at coercion; "for I have every intention of dancing with him again-once-twice-if not more."

"After the opinion I have just expressed ?" cries Paul, his anger effectually breaking through the armour of his coldness, voice raised, and grey eyes lightening.

"Most decidedly," she answers with distinct emphasis.

"I am

not in the habit of breaking my word, and last night I promised him that, on condition that he leaves Sylvia's house to-morrow, I would valse four times with him to-night-and valse four times with him I will!"

"You promised him?" repeats Paul, hardly any longer master of his indignation. "Am I to understand that you have been making terms-bargaining with him? How ought his comings or goings to affect you?"

"In this way," she answers, her lips quivering with anger, but articulating with slow clearness. "I have, or fancy I have, a considerable regard for you and a slight regard for him, and I have no wish to see you kick each other downstairs-a dénoûment which is only a question of time as long as you are in the same house."

"Lenore!" (snatching her hand, and holding it with almost painful tightness, while his eyes glow bright and deeply angry in this dim place,)" are you mad, or are you bent on driving me mad? After what has often passed between us about that fellow, can you dare to tell me to my face that you have a regard for him?" Whom the Gods wish to destroy they first deprive of understanding.

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"Dare!" she says, while her eyes meet his unflinchingly, though, within, her spirit quails-her heart yearns to him in his honest anger. "What an ugly word! Yes, I do dare! why should not I? He is handsome, and I love to look at beautiful things and people; he admires me blindly, and admiration is food and drink to me; he can sce no fault in me, and I hate to be eternally carped at, and picked holes in !"

"I see," says Paul, dropping her hand, and speaking in a tone of smothered resentment, which (if she could but have understood it) was more alarming than his outspoken anger, "I understand; you cannot see our unsuitability more clearly than I do; from the first, I felt it profoundly, and every day I live I feel it more. But Lenore, why" (grasping her arm with unconscious fierceness), why-if, from the first, you only meant to torment me-why did you make me love

you? There were hundreds of other victims that would have done you more credit. Why could not you leave me alone?"

"Leave you alone!" (turning as white as a sheet); "what do you mean?"

"I mean," he answers firmly, "what you know as well as I do, that you could have hindered me from loving you, if you had wished; I was not given to falling in love; till I met you I hated ladies' society; I avoided women; I did not understand them, and they thought me a bore. I left them alone, and they left me alone; until you-solely for the gratification of your own vanity, as I now seemade me love you, against my wish, against my better judgment, as, for the same reason, no doubt, you have now made Scrope."


She sits, with her head bent, silent; she cannot command her voice to answer.

"He is a more creditable conquest than I, I own," continues Paul bitterly; "but for all that you will be the ruin of him. When he joined me at Dinan he was as nice a boy and as good a fellow as ever lived; I looked upon him as a brother, and he-he swore by me! You have made him hate me! You have made me detest the sight of him! I congratulate you on your handiwork."

She lifts her eyes to him, all the softness gone out of them, scintillating with anger. "Have you done?" she asks in a choked voice; "have you insulted me enough for one day?"

"I have not insulted you," he answers resolutely, "unless God's truth be an insult; I never was a good hand at telling smooth lies; my love for you has never been blind enough to hinder my seeing that you are, in some respects, different from what I could wish you to be; if it is an insult to tell you so, I can only say it would have been a thousand times better if we had never met."

A pain like a knife goes through her HEART, but she makes no sign. "I quite agree with you," she answers, commanding her voice into calmness by an immense effort; "will you be so kind as to take me back to Sylvia?"

He gives her his arm and they begin to retrace their steps; but before they have gone six paces he turns aside into one of the rooms that open out of the passage. It is empty; he shuts the door. His soul is in a tumult; full, not indeed of the unnamed pain of Lenore's, but of confusion and doubt. If he marries this woman he will be a miserable man; he has long suspected it, and choked back the suspicion; to-night he has realised it—but yet-but yet-she is as beautiful as a summer moonrise-he cannot give her up without an effort. They are as much alone as if they were on a desert island; he stands facing her.


Lenore," he says, earnestly, "let us understand one another. If this is only a silly quarrel, for Heaven's sake let us make it up; if it

is only a capricious way of trying how much I can stand, I tell you candidly that I am at the end of my tether; I will not bear a feather's weight more! Lenore, am I unreasonable? I like a quiet life, and I want to trust my wife absolutely, and to believe in her as I believe in God. Tell me, did you mean the things you said just now, or were you only angry? If you were, I am the last person that has any right to blame you. Oh, my dear, think before you answer me! Our whole two lives hang upon it."

She looks at him. His face is stern and resolute and deeply angered; but is it not also tender? She is all but melted; in a second more she would have been sobbing on his heart, but in the instant of hesitation his former words, "You made me love you," recur to her, bringing profound resentment with them. "I did mean them," she answers passionately. "I do mean them; it is so pleasant to me to find any one to like me spontaneously that I naturally prize their society."

His face pales and changes, it is no longer tender; it is only stern. All right," he says coldly; "you are at least explicit. It has come to this, then, Lenore-you must choose between Scrope and me. I am far from saying that he is not a fitter mate for you than I. He is young, he is good-looking, he is rich, he has everything to catch a woman's eye and gain a woman's heart; and I--" (looking down and sighing), "well, I suppose I have not much. It has been as great a wonder to me as to the rest of the world what you could have seen in me—you know, I told you before I'm not up to woman's ways—but one thing is certain," (lifting his head again, and speaking with firm emphasis,) "I will go shares with no man; I will have all or none. As long as you are my betrothed wife I forbid you to dance with Scrope."

"And I decline to be forbidden," she cries, maddened by rage-by the internal knowledge of being in the wrong, and-oh, far worst, cruellest of all-by the conviction that he does not love her well enough to take her, faults and all-that he will have her on his own terms or not at all, that he is going-if she persist in her pride-to give her up, and that the giving her up will not cost him his life-will not break his heart, or even cause it any very mortal pain. "I deny your right to employ such a word to me; if I were a hundred times your wife I should refuse to be ordered about like a dog. If you expect the tame docility of a slave you had better go to your cousin for it, for you certainly will not get it from me."

He bows gravely.

"It is fortunate, at least, that we have discovered the discrepancy of our ideas of marriage before it is too late. Thank you, at least, for telling me now, instead of later."

"Yes," she answers, breathing hard and short; her face altered

and contorted by the fatal excitement that is hurrying her to her destruction; "if I made you love me, as you generously say, I will, at least, not make you marry me."

He stands mute, all his face white and quivering, unable to master himself enough to reply to her gibes with calmness, and not willing to descend to the unmanliness of recrimination. Then at length he speaks, with a slow and bitter smile:

"You have given me a lesson that I shall not forget in a hurry. I confess that I had not thought myself a vain man, but to-night has proved me to have been egregiously misled by my own conceit. Do you know-you will hardly believe me-laugh at me, I give you leave -but for the last six months I have been reproaching myself with the thought that, well and heartily as I loved you, you loved me even better that you were giving more than you received? I am disabused! Lenore," (speaking very slowly, and planting each word like a swordthrust in her heart,) "you are incapable of loving anyone but yourself -anything but your own will. I have done with you!”

As he speaks, unmindful of the usages of society, forgetting that she has asked him to take her back to her chaperone, he turns to leave her; at the door he pauses to take one good-bye look at the fair proud woman he has resigned. Her eyes are gazing vacantly at him, and her lips seem moving. In a moment more he is gone. She remains in the same position in which he left her: she does not move a finger. Her great wide eyes keep staring at the door by which he went out, and her lips repeating his last words, "I have done with you-done with you-done with you!" They do not convey the slightest meaning to her mind. By dint of saying them over and over again, they grow to sound unfamiliar, grotesque. She half laughs. How long she remains in this semi-stunned state she does not know; the fiddles squeak distantly, and the people pass and repass, but she heeds neither. She is recalled to herself at last by the entrance of a man, who first looks in uncertainly, and then comes in joyfully— Scrope.


Why, here you are!" he cries cheerfully. "I have been hunting high and low for you! I thought you were with Le Mesurier; this is our dance-Good God!" (with an abrupt change of tone), "what has happened?"

His voice brings her back to her right mind-brings the bitter, bitter truth rolling over her soul like a black flood. Paul gone-gone for good!-gone with a look of inexorable displeasure on his face, and she herself has thrown him away.

"What has happened?" she says, in a sharp harsh voice. "Do you ask that? Why, just this," (laughing rather wildly,) “I have been amusing myself cutting my own throat. That is what has happened, and I have to thank you for it."



He looks at her in unbounded astonishment. Has she gone mad, as her words seem to imply?

"What do you mean?"

"I mean," she answers, speaking more collectedly, "that Paul is gone he does not like me any longer-he has done with me!" (falling unconsciously into his own form of expression).


"Don't look glad!" she cries excitedly. "How dare you? If you look glad I shall kill you!"

"I am not looking glad. What should I look glad for? I don't know what you are talking about.".

"You have got your wish," she says, rising and speaking with slow vindictiveness." You have parted us! It is what you have been aiming at all along. I hope you are pleased."

"Do you mean to say that you have been quarrelling about me again ?"


Yes, I do!" she answers, panting, and looking at him always with dilated eyes; "you knew we should. you knew we should. That was why you remained here when I begged you to go, when any gentleman would have died sooner than stay."

The young man bites his lip till it bleeds; he clenches his hands convulsively; he writhes under her insults; but he makes no retort. "Was it because you danced with me ?" he asks quietly, after an interval.

"You know it was," she answers petulantly. "Why do you keep worrying me with these questions? He told me not to dance with you, and I said I would; I thought it was fine to have a spirit-you have always told me, all of you, what a fine spirit I had. Well, God knows" (laughing harshly), "I have been spirited enough to-night!"

A little silence.

"If he had but known," she says, looking scornfully at her companion, "how small the sacrifice was that he asked of me, he would not have insisted so much upon it."

Scrope's endurance fails a little.

"You are making mountains of molehills," he says impatiently. "As far as I can understand, you have had a little misunderstanding-I do not see how any one could well live with you without having them a misunderstanding which you will make up within the first five minutes of your next meeting-that is all."

"It is not all!" she answers persistently. "We have had a hundred such misunderstandings, as you describe-they were always my fault, always-and made them up again; but this was different; when he turned at the door and looked at me, I felt that it was all over with me." As she speaks, she sinks upon the sofa again; her

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