MOLLY BAWN. 29-5
profoundly serious. ' Still, if it is anything important I will
' Can I do anything for you 1' asks he, hesitating, evi¬
dently fearing to approach the desir'ed subject.
' Nothing, thank you. I came only for a paper—left in
the blotting-book. If you wish to speak do so quickly, as I
mu-st go.' Then, as he still hesitates, ' AVhy do you pause ?'
' Because I fear incurring your displeasure once again; and
surely the passages between us have been bad enough already.'
* Do not fear.' Coldly. ' It is no longer in your power
to wound me.'
' True. I should not have allowed that fact to escape
me. Yet hear me. It is my love urges me on.'
' Your—love !' With slow and scornful disbelief.
' Yes—mine. In spite of all that has come and gone
you know me well enough to understand how dear you still
are to me. No, you need not say a word : I can see by
your face that you will never pardon. There is no greater
curse than to love a woman who gives one but bare tolerance
' Why did you not think of all this while there was yet
' One drifts—until it is too late to seek for I'emedies.
My heaviest misfortune lies in the fact that I cannot root
you from my heart.'
' A terrible misfortune, no doubt'—with a little angry
flash from her azure eyes—' but one that time will cure.'
' WUl it?' WistfuUy. ' Shall I indeed learn to forget
you, Molly—to look back upon my brief but happy past as
an idle dream ? I hardly hope so much.'
' And would you waste all your best days ?' asks she, in
tones that tremble ever such a little, ' in thinking of me ?
Remember all you said—all you meant—how " thankful
you were to find me out in time."'
' And will you condemn for ever because of a few words
spoken in a moment of despair and terrible disappointment ?'
pleads he. ' I acknowledge my fault. I was wrong—I was
too hasty. I behaved like a brute, if you will; but then I
believed I had grounds for fear. When once I saw your
face, heard your voice, looked into your eyes, E knew how
false my accusations were; but it was then too late.'