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so great. . . . Listen to me," he continued,
his courage rising as he spoke. "I know
that there is nothing in me to attract any
woman, and that I have nothing to offer
you but a deepGod only knows how
deep!—and devoted love. No one would
ever have known it. It would have died
with me, as it has lived in my inmost
heart, for more than three years, unspoken,
but for this. But now, Maud, that you
have cast yourself out upon the world, I
cannot remain silent. I believe, yes, I do
believe, that I could, in time, make you
happy. I do not expect you to love me
now; but if I am not utterly repugnant to
you, do not cast my love absolutely from
you. Believe me, the faithful attachment
of even a man like myself is better than a
lonely struggle with the world, such as
you contemplate. You need active duties,
you want to feel yourself of use: yours
would be the highest use that is given to

The emotion with which John uttered
these words Maud found was infectious.
She was moved, in spite of herself, and
said, in a softened voice:

"I wish you had not spoken thus, Mr.
Miles ..... It was a great pity to disturb
our friendly relations towards each other
by—  by saying all this. It is such nonsense
to fancy that I am the least fit to be a
clergyman's wife in the first place, even if——
But let us say no more about it, please.
It never can be. This is a mistake from
first to last. You pitied me at Mortlands,
and now that you think I have compromised
myself by running away, you offer
me a home. I am very grateful to you.
... I respect you beyond any man I know;
but this can't be."

"Listen to me for one moment more," said
John, very earnestly. "Is it for me or for
yourself you speak? If it be for me, God
knows how little pity has to do with my
love. I never thought you deserved all
the pity you claimed. I thought you often
to blame: I saw all your faults, and I
loved you, Maud, in spite of them. ... I
tried to crush my folly; I thought I had
crushed it till lately. But now, I ask
myself, why should I be silent? If you are
resolved not to return to Mortlands, will
you consent to come and be the light of my
humble home the joy of my life, Maud?"

"I am not made to be 'a light' to any
one, certainly to no one so good as you are.
. . . Pray, dear Mr. Miles, say no more about
this. If you wish me to remain here, you
must promise not to renew the subject. It
is the only condition upon which I can stay
under your aunt's roof."

No man of the world would have sought
to satisfy the cruel doubts which crossed
his mind at that moment, by asking a
direct questiona question which he had
no sort of right to demand. But John
was not a man of the world. He buried
his face in his hands, then he walked up
and down the room, coughed, and stood
by the mantelpiece, wiping his forehead,
and fidgeting uneasily from one leg to the
other. At last he blurted out:

"Will you relieve my mind? Did you,
or did you not, while in that house, get
entangled in any way? . . . You spoke of a

"I am entangled in no way," said Maud,
quickly, and the blood mounted to her
cheek. "The promise I spoke of referred
to Mrs. Cartaretto my remaining in her
service. Is that enough for you? Pray
ask any other question." Then, seeing
that he remained silent, she rose, saying,
"I think we had both better go to bed. I
feel irritable. I suppose I shall see you in
the morning? Please remember what I
have said. Good-night!"

Thus was poor John reduced to silence.

He left the next morning, somewhat
easier in his mind touching the rumours
which had disquieted him, and fondly
hoping that time might soften Maud's
heart, and that she might be brought to
think the haven of a curate's cottage better
than drifting, rudderless, upon the troubled
waters of the world.

           MR. DICKENS'S NEW WORK.
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