Page:The Yellow Book - 01.djvu/198

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The Dedication

Agnes.Over a year—nearly two years.

Lucy.And do you really know him well? Are you quite certain you can trust him?

Agnes.What a question! How can you doubt it? You wouldn't for a minute if you knew him.

Lucy.I ought not to, knowing you, you mean. And supposing this book is a success. May it not spoil him—make him conceited?

Agnes.All the better if it does. He is not conceited enough, and so I always tell him.

Lucy.But may it not make him worldly? May he not, after a time, regret his proposal to you if he sees a chance of making a more advantageous——

Agnes.Impossible. What a dreadful opinion you must have of mankind. You don't think it really, I know. I have never heard you say or hint anything nasty about anybody before.

Lucy.I only do it for your own good, my dear. I once knew a man—just such another as you describe Mr. Reddell to be. He was an author, too, and—and when I knew him his first book was also just about to appear. He was engaged to be married to—to quite a nice girl too, although she was never so pretty as you are.

Agnes.Who is the flatterer now?

Lucy.The book was published. It was a great success. He became quite the lion of the season—it is many years ago now. The wedding-day was definitely fixed. Two months before the date he suggested a postponement—for six months.

Agnes.How horrible!

Lucy.And just about the time originally fixed upon for the wedding she received a letter from him—he was abroad at the time—suggesting that their engagement had better be broken off.