+ ~ -
 
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
 
Report an Error
Go!
 
Go!
 
TOC
 

Well,” he said, "I hope you approve
rny taste and Chaucer's?"

"Oh, of course." Then, after a pause,
Will you forgive me, I wonder, if I ask a
very rude question?"

I will try to do so; but might it not
be better, if the question be a rude one, to
leave it unasked?"

"I cannot. I am too interested in having
it answered; but I'm afraid you'll be so
dreadfully angry!"

You take the choice, you see, between
risking my dreadful anger and losing the
chance of gratifying your curiosity."

"It is much more than mere curiosity."

"And it will be, I dare say, much less
than 'dreadful' anger."

"It is only this: I want to know, Mr.
Stewart, why you don't marry Aunt
Daisy?"

"Is it 'only that' you wish to know,
Miss Brown?" Mr. Stewart's face
reddened angrily. Myrrha, seeing this, and
hearing the tone in which he called her
Miss Brown, hid her face in her hands,
and looked out at him from between her
fingers, pretending to shrink away. " The
question is very easily answered. I don't
marry your Aunt Daisy because she won't
let me; because she won't marry me. There
is no other reason; there can be no other:
but this, you will allow, is a sufficient
one."

"Aunt Daisy says she will never marry,
and she says it in a way that shows she
means it."

"Of course she means it; your Aunt
Daisy always says what she means."

"No, Mr. Stewart; Aunt Daisy, I dare
say, always means what she says, but she
means, also, a great deal she never says.
She is very secret; I feel quite certain that
Aunt Daisy conceals something very
important. It has crossed my mind to wonder
whether she may not be already married!"

Mr. Stewart laughed derisively. "So,
you've been making your Aunt Daisy the
heroine of a sensational novel, have you?"

Mr. Stewart, you promised your anger
should be less than dreadful, but it isn't,
you're dreadfully angry; and it isn't fair
you should be. If you knew my reasons
for touching this subject, if you understood
my heart on this subject, you would,
at least, pity me."

Something rose to Mr. Stewart's lips
which he preferred not to say; he turned
from Myrrha abruptly and went into the
house; she had waylaid him in the garden.
But she contrived to speak a few more
confidential words to him before he left.

"If you had been a little more tolerant
with me, I, perhaps, could have told you
things that might have been useful to you.
Yes, you needn't look so superbly scornful;
though I am but 'a child of nineteen,' as
you've told me often enough, and you are
a man of fortystill I am a woman, and
you're only a man, and women know by
instinct things that men's reason and
wisdom never seem to teach them. Of
course, if there is really between you and
Aunt Daisy some insuperable obstacle,
nothing will be of any good; but if there is
nothing but some foolish fancy of hers,
there is a thing that would help youto
make her a little jealous. Oh, yes, I know
you think this a treasonable suggestion;
but, Mr. Stewart, Aunt Daisy is only a
woman, not even a very wise one. Having
said this, I will run away." Which she
did.

In truth, Myrrha was getting tired of
Redcombe Cottage.

"If he's going to marry Aunt Daisy I
wish he'd do it. If he isn't going to
marry Aunt Daisy, why then I wish to
make him sure and certain that he isn't.
I don't want to be worried. I like Mr.
Stewart, and don't I like Redcombe
Manor House! I believe I could get fond
of Mr. Stewart, and I know I could get
fond of Redcombe Manor! If I could get
them I should be glad; but I don't want
to be kept shilly-shallying: to be made to
feel worried, and to waste my time. I
shall soon be twentyafter twenty a girl
like me often begins to go off and to look
sickly, and to get too thin. I'm sure I
don't want to take him from Aunt Daisy,
if she means to have him; but if she
doesn't, I don't see why she should play
dog-in-the-manger."

                    MR. DICKENS'S NEW WORK
                                NOW READY.
  In 1 vol. Demy 8vo., Price 7s. 6d., with ILLUSTRATIONS
              AND A PORTRAIT, the SIX PARTS of
              THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD.
        London: CHAPMAN AND HALL, 193, Piccadilly.

   Just published, price 5s. 6d., bound in green cloth,
                         THE THIRD VOLUME
                     OF THE NEW SERIES OF
                       ALL THE YEAR ROUND.
                   To be had of all Booksellers.