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loved him. He had no harsh judgment, only an overwhelming pang of tenderness. He, too, had faced the immediate future. He knew there must be no marriage whilst this thing hung over and menaced them. Yet to take her into his own keeping, guard and cherish her, was a desire sharp as a sword is sharp, and too poignant for words. He thought she would understand him. But more definitely perhaps he feared her opposition. The fear had slowed his feet. She did not know her lover when she dreaded his reproaches. When he came into the music room this grey, wet morning, he saw that she looked ill, but hardly guessed that she was apprehensive, and of him. He bent over her hands, kissed her hands, held them against his lips.

"My dear, my dear." Her mercurial spirits rose at a bound.

"I thought you would reproach me."

"My poor darling!"

"I wish I had told you."

"Never mind that now."

"But that was the worst of everything. You don't know how I have reproached myself."

"You must not."

"You have not left off caring for me, then?"

"I never cared for you so much."

"Why do you look so grave, so serious?"

Her heart was shaking as she questioned him.