MOLLY BAWN. 291
when a man keeps on saying he is miserable for love of you
and that you are the cause of all his distress, and that he
would as soon be dead as alive, because you cannot return
his affection, how can one help feeling a little sorry for
' I don't feel in the least sorry for Talbot. I thought
him extremely unpleasant and impertinent, and I hope with
all my heart he is very unhappy to-night, because it will do
' Cecil, how cruel you are !'
' Well, by what right does he go about making fierce
love to married women, compelling them to listen to his
nonsense whether they like it or not, and getting them into
scrapes ? I don't break my heart over Sir Penthony, but I
certainly do not wish him to think badly of me.'
' At least,' says Molly, relapsing again into the blues,
' you have this consolation—you cannot lose Sir Penthony.'
' That might also be looked on as a disadvantage. Still,
I suppose there is some benefit to be gained from my
position,' says Cecil meditatively. ' My lover (if, indeed, he
is my lover) cannot play the false knight with me ; I defy
him to love—and to ride away. There are no breakers
ahead for me. He is mine irrevocably—no matter how
horribly he may desire to escape. But you need not envy
me; it is sweeter to be as you are—to know him yours
without the shadow of a tie. He is not lost to you.'
' Effectually. What! do you think I would submit to
be again engaged to a man who could fling me off for a
chimera, a mere trick of the imagination? If he were to
beg my pardon on his knees—if he were to acknowledge
every word he said to me a lie—I would not look at him
' I always said your pride would be your bane,' says
Cecil reprovingly. ' Now, just think how far happier you
would be if you were friends with him again, and think
of nothing else. What is pride in comparison with com¬
' Have you forgiven Sir Penthony ? *
' Freely. But he won't foi'give me.'
' Have you forgiven him tbe flrst great crime of all—his
indifference towards his bride ?'
' N—0,' confesses her ladyship, smiling, ' not yet.'