"Well,--yes. But I'm not on and off, as the saying is."

"Why should you go away now?"

"Do you suppose a soldier has got nothing to do? You never calculate, I think, that Ennis is about three-and-twenty miles from here. Come, Kate, be nice with me before I go."

"How can I be nice when you are going? I always think when I see you go that you will never come back to me again. I don't know why you should come back to such a place as this?"

"Because, as it happens, the place holds what I love best in all the world." Then he lifted her from her chair, and put his arm round her waist. "Do you not know that I love you better than all that the world holds?"

"How can I know it?"

"Because I swear it to you."

"I think that you like me--a little. Oh Fred, if you were to go and never to come back I should die. Do you remember Mariana? 'My life is dreary. He cometh not,' she said. She said, 'I am aweary, aweary; I would that I were dead!' Do you remember that? What has mother been saying to you?"

"She has been bidding me to do you no harm. It was not necessary. I would sooner pluck out my eye than hurt you. My uncle is an old man,--a very old man. She cannot understand that it is better that we should wait, than that I should have to think hereafter that I had killed him by my unkindness."

"But he wants you to love some other girl."


"He cannot make me do that. All the world cannot change my heart, Kate. If you can not trust me for that, then you do not love me as I love you."

"Oh, Fred, you know I love you. I do trust you. Of course I can wait, if I only know that you will come back to me. I only want to see you." He was now leaning over her, and her cheek was pressed close to his. Though she was talking of Mariana, and pretending to fear future misery, all this was Elysium to her,--the very joy of Paradise. She could sit and think of him now from morning to night, and never find the day an hour too long. She could remember the words in which he made his oaths to her, and cherish the sweet feeling of his arm round her body. To have her cheek close to his was godlike. And then when he would kiss her, though she would rebuke him, it was as though all heaven were in the embrace.

Most Popular