284 MOLLY BAWN.
' Say nothing more,' savs Molly, with pale Ups and eyes
large and dark through regretful sorrow; ' not another
word. I think he acted rightly. He thought I was false,
and so thinking he was right to renounce. I do not say this
in his defence or because—or for any reason only------' She
' Why not continue? Because you—love him still.'
' Weil, and why not ?' says MoUy. ' AVhy should I deny
my love for him ? Can any shame be connected with it ]
Yes,' murmurs she, her sweet eyes filUng with tears, her
small clasped hands trembling, ' though he and I can never
be more to each other than we now are, I tell you I love
him as I never have and never shall love again.'
' It is a pity that such love as yours should have no better
return,' says he, with an unlovely laugh. ' Luttrell appears
to bear his fate with admfrable equanimity.'
'You are incapable of judging such a nature as his,'
returns she disdainfully. ' He is all that is gentle, and true,
and noble; while }"ou------' She stops abrujjtly, causing a
pause that is more eloquent than words, and, with a distant
bow, hui'ries from the room.
Philip's star to-day is not in the ascendant. Even as he
stands crushed by Molly's bitter reproaches, Marcia, with
her heart full of a settled revenge towards him, is waiting
outside her grandfather's door for permission to enter.
That unlucky shadow of a kiss last night has done as
much mischief as half a dozen real kisses. It has convinced
Marcia of the truth of that which for weeks she has been
vainly strusoling to disbeUeve, namely, Philip's mad infatua¬
tion fcr IMolly.
Now all doubt is at an end, and in its place has fallen a
despair more terrible than any uncertainty.
All the anguish of a heart rejected, that is still compelled
to live on loving its rejector, has been hers for the past two
months, and it has told upon her slowly but surely. She is
strangely altered. Dark hollows lie beneath her eyes, that
have grown almost unearthly in expression, so large are
they, and so sombre is the fire that burns within them.
There is a compression about the Ups that has grown
habitual; smaU lines mar the whiteness of her forehead,
while amongst her raven tresses, did anyone mark them
closely enough, fine threads of silver may be traced.