296 MOLLY BAWN.
' Too late mdeed.'
' How calmly you can say it!' With exquisite reproach.
' Have five minutes blotted out five months? Did you know
all the anguish I endured on seeing you with—Shadwell—
I think you might forgive.'
' I might. But I could not forget. Would I again con¬
sent to be at the mercy of one who without a question pro¬
nounced me guilty ? A thousand times no !'
' Say at once you are glad to be rid of me,' breaks he in
bitterly, stung by her persistent coldness.
' You are forgetting your original purpose,' she says,
after a slight pause, declining to notice his last remark.
' Was there not something you wished to say to me ?'
' Yes.' Rousing himself with an impatient sigh. ' Molly'
—blanching a little, and trying to read her face, with all hia
heart in his eyes—' are you going to marry Shadwell ?'
Molly colours richly (a rare thing with her), grows pale
again, clasps and unclasps her slender fingers nervously, before
she makes reply. A prompting towards mischief grows
within her, together with a sense of anger that he should
dare put such a question to her under existing circumstances.
' 1 cannot see by what right you put to me such a
question—now,' she says at length haughtily. ' My affairs
can no longer concern you.' With an offended gleam at him
from under her long lashes.
' But they do,' cries he hotly, maddened by her blush,
which he has attributed jealously to a wrong cause, ' How
can I see you throwing yourself away upon a roue—a black¬
leg—without uttering a word of warning ?'
' " A roue—a blackleg ?" Those are strong terms.
What has Captain Shadwell done to deserve them? A
blackleg ? How 1'
' Perhaps I go too far when I say that,' says Luttrell,
wishing with all his heart he knew something vile of Shad¬
well; 'but he has gone as near it as any man well can.
You and he cannot have a thought in common. Will you
sacrifice your entire life without considering well the conse¬
' He is a gentleman, at all events,' says Miss Massereene
slowly, cuttingly, ' He never backbites his friends. He is
courteous in his manner; and—he knows how to keep—his
lumper, I do not believe any of your insinuations,'