Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/426

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A Bundle of Life.

"Why?" said Lady Mallinger, with flashing eyes.

"Why? do you ask me why? I will not lie to you. I loved you because I thought you loved me—because I felt that you would help me, you, who were so much stronger, so much nobler, so much braver than I. When you said...when you seemed to think I had some beauty, I longed to be the most beautiful of all women, that you might be proud of me: I longed to be royal that I might throw aside my royalty and show the world that I would rather be ruled by you than rule a kingdom: I wanted a palace that I might leave it and follow you into darkness and poverty: I wished that we lived in times of danger that I might save you from death, that I might lie for you, hate for you, steal for you, die for you! How I have loved you! how have you deceived me! I have nothing left but contempt for both of us....Stay there!"

She walked away alone, and as he felt too ashamed to follow in her footsteps, he chose another path, and was therefore late for luncheon. A fact which showed the injured woman that her words had played some havoc with his conscience.