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saw tears, but he was perplexed too. She
had surely known that he was deeply in
love with her: and knowing it, had come
voluntarily to claim his help and sympathy!
Why, then, did she call it cruel and selfish
that he should speak to her of his
feelings? He had no conception of the kind
of hopeless devotion she wanted, and would
have accepted, at any cost of pain to him.

She would fain have had him behave like
Mr. Plew, at least for the present, or until
the declaration of his passion should no
longer be fraught with risk or trouble to
herself. But Cesare de' Barletti was not in
the least like Mr. Plew. And Mr. Plew's
manner of lovinggiving all, and getting
nothingwas inconceivable to him. And
yet, after his manner, he did love her with
the first deep and genuine passion of his

"What do you command me to do,
Veronica? Tell me. I cannot bear to see you
shed tears," he said, speaking less

"I cannot command youI do not wish
to command you. But I ask you as a
friend, to ascertain what you can, about Sir
John's illness. It is not a very great thing
to do, perhaps. And yet it is more than I
have any right to demand."

"I will do it. Tell me, Veronica, do you
are you so very anxious about your

"About —? Yes."

"Don't frown! Your frown chills me
like a cloud coming over the sun. Ah, how
coldly you look! There is some northern
snow in your veins, even though you have
Italian blood in you. And why should you
be angry? You cannot love that man!
It is impossible."

"I said nothing of loving."

"True. But you seem so anxious, so
distressed— "

"Cannot you understand how terrible my
position would be, alone here in a strange
country, ifif any sudden misfortune
should happen?"

"Alone! You would not be alone.
Should I not be by your side? Ah, you
speak of trust, but you do not really trust

"I do trust you. My presence here this
morning is a proof that I trust you. But I
must go back now. It is getting late. I
came out quite alone. I did not bring even
my maid."

"Oh stay awhilea little longer! Let
me look at you, and speak to you yet a few
minutes longer!"

"No, no: I must go. I shall be missed.
Paul is always on the watch."

"To the devil with Paul! You are not
in fear of your servant! Will you go?
Well, see how I obey you. There, I will
not try to detain you. But, Veronica, one
word. When will you meet me again? I
must give you an answer, you know; I
must tell you if I get any information.
Will you come here tomorrow morning?"

Veronica mused a moment. "Could you
not contrive to make me understand
whether the doctor's answer is favourable
or unfavourable, this evening when you
come to him? A word or a look would

"No," said Barletti, resolutely. "Not a
glance, not a quiver of an eyelash shall you
have! I will impart no information unless
you will consent to come here for it."

"Did I not say men were all selfish?
That is your friendship; that is your

"And you, Veronica, are you not very
hard with me? What is it that I ask?
But to see you for ten minutes away from
that blighting presence! But to speak one
word to you of all that is in my heart!"

"Yes: you demand the price that pleases
you, for your service!"

He started back as though she had
struck him.

"Signora, I demand no price. It shall
be as you choose."

She saw he was wounded to the quick,
and was eager to soothe him; although at
the same time she felt somewhat indignant
at his indignation; as a spoilt child,
accustomed to give way to its humours, is
startled and hurt when its arrogant
pettishness is taken seriously, and resented as
an injury.

"Oh forgive me!" she said. " I am very

Those words melted him at once. But
he had been deeply wounded. He could
understand tears, caprice, frowns, even fury.
But a bitter sarcasm, a pitiless probing of
motives, was infinitely repulsive. It seemed
to him so essentially unwomanly. A woman
might die for you, if she loved you; or
might kill you if she were jealous. That
was in accordance with the arrangements
of Providence. But to hear a satiric sneer
from female lips, was to the Neapolitan
prince almost as shocking as to have beheld
a lady with a dissecting knife in her hand,
and ready to use it.

"I did not think you could have spoken
so unkindly, Veronica, to one who is devoted