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"Oh no," said she, "I have nothing better
to do. The sun is nearly setting, but the light
will linger for some time to come."

I looked into her face as she spoke, and
saw again how beautiful she was. When she
spoke seriously, her features gave no indication
of her light and playful character; there
was even a sorrowful air in her countenance,
that made me think that deeper feeling lay
under all that outward gaiety. Once she left
me suddenly, and, running across the road,
plucked some more leaves. Then, making
a hollow with her hand, she laid a leaf across
and struck it sharply, making a noise like
the report of a pistol. "There," said she,
"try to do the same, and if you do not know
already, I foretell you will not succeed the
first time." I took several leaves and strove,
in vain, to imitate her, and at every failure
she laughed till I gave it up, vexed with
myself and her.

"Now," she said, "I have offended you;
but never mind, I will teach you the whole
secret by and by, though I found it out without
teaching; but every one has his peculiar
talent. I could not carve a 'stawn dog,' for

We both laughed at the mimicry of her
sister-in-law's pronunciation. By this time
we had come up to the mansion. We
entered the gateway, and walked several times
round the quadrangle. The place was silent
the family that inhabited it being absent.
Issuing by the gate again, we returned
down the avenue, the full moon before
us slowly growing brighter till we reached
the lodge, where I bade her good night and

Short as my acquaintance had been, I felt
that I loved her deeply in spite of her bantering;
but my pride was strong, and I could
not endure the thought of telling her my
passion, at the risk of being met by scorn and
raillery. I remembered the history of her
cousin, which I had heard from the old
woman, and I thought that she waited only
for an opportunity of treating me with
the same derision. I thought she had
discovered my pride, and proposed to herself
the task of humbling it. But I would not
allow her; I would rather keep the secret
all my life, or quit the city, if that were
necessary, than tell her while she kept her
flippant way. Yet, I hoped that this would
change, after a while. When I thought of
her beauty, her thoughtful look sometimes
when she did not know that I observed her,
as well as of some things that she had said
full of tenderness and feeling, in the midst of
all her mirth; I half believed that she
assumed a character in order to surprise me
afterwards, by changing suddenly. But her
aunt had described her exactly as I found her,
and many things confirmed the belief that
this manner, if not original in her nature, had
become habitual to her. I strove to analyse
my feeling, and discover what it was that
really made me love her. It was not only her
face, though I had never seen a woman to
compare with her for beauty. Something in
her voice and manner fascinated me against
my will. I liked to hear her talk, and yet it
pained me. I was grave and earnest, and
her raillery drew me out of my reserve,
and led me, like a will-o'-the-wisp, where
it pleased. Her ridicule and indifference,
when I spoke seriously, hurt my pride; her
wit baffled me. I felt disconcerted in her
presence. I could not meet her with the
ready answers which alone could foil her
weapons, and she saw me embarrassed, and
struck me closer home. All this made me
almost dread to meet her; yet, that night, I
lay awake devising some means of seeing her

One morning, about a week afterwards, I
rose early, and took my way to the park.
All the week I had been watching for Alice,
across the wall, and had not seen her. I
passed through the gate, and looked up at
the lodge windows, but the blinds were
down, and below, the screens were closed
outside. I thought "they have not risen yet."
I had not proposed to knock there, but simply
to walk in the park. However, I waited
awhile, and listened for some one moving. I
even went round the palings and looked up at
the windows at the back. One was open, and
the long blind was swelling outward, like a
sail, and dropping in the current of air. I
drew back immediately, afraid of being seen,
and walked down the avenue. I saw some one
coming towards me from the further end,
looking like Alice, although the distance was
too great for me to be sure. As we drew
nearer, however, I saw that it was she.
She had a basket on her arm, and was walking
quickly. She saw me, and came running up
to me, saying, "I have a sad piece of news
to relate to you. I am afraid you will think
me very ungrateful, when I tell you what has
happened. I have hardly the courage to
confess. I know you will never forgive me, unless
I get a promise from you, first of all. Tell
me then, am I forgiven?"

"Yes! " I answered; "fully absolved, as
far as I have power."

"Listen then," she continued, "without
being angry, if you can. The greyhound
that you gave methe beautiful, slender dog,
is broken into twenty fragments! Oh, you
are not more vexed than I am;" she added,
seeing me look serious. "I would not have
exchanged it for its weight in silver. And to
have done it myself, to have no one to blame,
but my own careless self. I will tell you
exactly how it happened. It was standing
yesterday on the side-table where you left it.
I intended to set it in my room, but I had
forgotten it for a while. I threw on my
shawl suddenly to go outthe fringe caught
in something behind me: I did not look back,
but pulled it impatiently; the little table
overturned with a crash; and my poor carving