280 MOLLY BAWN.
When he has quite gone Sir Penthony tui-ns to her.
* Is this the way you amuse yourself?' he asks in a com¬
' Do not reproach me,' murmurs she hurriedly; ' I could
not bear it now.' She speaks clearly, but her tone has lost
its firmness, because of the Uttle tremor that runs through
it, while her face is white as one of the pale blossoms she
holds within her hand. ' Besides, it is not deserved. Wei-e
you long here before you spoke ?'
' Long enough.' With a world of meaning in his tone.
' Then you heard my exculpation. " Cold as ice," he caUed
me. And he was right. As I am to you, Sir Penthony,
so am I to aU men. No one yet has touched my heart.'
' For myself I can answer,' replies he bitterly;—' but for
' Not another word,' she breaks in vehemently. ' Do
not say—do not even hint at what I might find it impossible
to forgive. Not even to you will I seek to justify myself
on such a point. And you,' she says, tears of agitation,
arising from aU she has underg:ne, mingled with much
pent-up wounded feeling, coming thickly into her eyes,
' you should be the last to blame me for what has happened,
when you remember who it was who placed me in such a
false position as makes men think they may say to me what
* You are unjust,' he answers, nearly as white as herself.
'I only followed out your wishes. It was your own
arrangement; I but acceded to it.'
' You should not have done so,' cries she, with subdued
excitement, ' You were a man of the world, capable of
judging; I was a foolish girl, ignorant of the consequences
that must follow on such an act. Our maniage was a
' CecU, you know you can escape from your false position
as soon as you choose. No one loves you as I do.'
' Impossible,' Coldly. ' In this world a thing once
done can never be undone. Have you Uved so long with¬
out learning that lesson ?'
As she speaks she tmns from him, and, walking quickly
away, leaves him alone in the garden. Much as he has
grown to love her, never untU now has the very tenderness