Page:Oliver Twist (1838) vol. 2.djvu/294

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274
Oliver Twist.

"Yes, Harry, I owe it to myself that I, a friendless, portionless girl, with a blight upon my name, should not give the world reason to suspect that I had sordidly yielded to your first passion, and fastened myself, a clog, upon all your hopes and projects. I owe it to you and yours to prevent you from opposing, in the warmth of your generous nature, this great obstacle to your progress in the world."

"If your inclinations chime with your sense of duty—" Harry began.

"They do not," replied Rose, colouring deeply.

"Then you return my love?" said Harry. "Say but that, Rose; say but that, and soften the bitterness of this hard disappointment."

"If I could have done so without doing heavy wrong to him I loved," rejoined Rose, "I could have—"

"Have received this declaration very differently?" said Harry with great eagerness. "Do not conceal that from me at least, Rose."

"I could," said Rose. "Stay," she added, disengaging her hand, "why should we prolong