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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 560 pages of information about Dawn.
and can fly no more, but must be tossed, like a crippled gull, hither and thither upon the stormy surface of her little sea.  Of course, I speak of women of the higher stamp.  Many, perhaps most, will feel nothing of all this.  In a little while they will grow content with their dull round and the alien nature which they have mated with, and in their children, and their petty cares and dissipations, will forget that they possess a higher part, if indeed they do possess it.  Like everything else in the world, they find their level.  But with women like your Angela it is another thing.  For them time only serves to increasingly unveil the Medusa-headed truth, till at last they see it as it is, and their hearts turn to stone.  Backed with a sick longing to see a face that is gone from them, they become lost spirits, wandering everlastingly in the emptiness they have chosen, and finding no rest.  Even her children will not console her.”

Arthur uttered a smothered exclamation.

“Don’t start, Arthur; you must accustom yourself to the fact that that woman has passed away from you, and is as completely the personal property of another man, as that chair is mine.  But, there, the subject is a painful one to you; shall we change it?”

“It is one that you seem to have studied pretty deeply.”

“Yes, because I have realized its importance to a woman.  For some years I have longed to be able to fall in love, and when at last I did so, Arthur,” and here her voice grew very soft, “it was with a man who could care nothing for me.  Such has been my unlucky chance.  That a woman, herself beloving and herself worthily beloved, could throw her blessed opportunity away is to me a thing inconceivable, and that, Arthur, is what your Angela has done.”

CHAPTER LXIII

“Then you will not marry now, Mildred?” said Arthur, after a pause.

“No, Arthur.”

“No one?”

“No one, Arthur.”

He rose, and, leaning over the railing of the verandah, looked at the sea.  The mist that hid it was drifting and eddying hither and thither before little puffs of wind, and the clear sky was clouding up.

“There is going to be a storm,” he said, presently.

“Yes, I think so, the air feels like it.”

He hesitated a while, and looked down at her.  She seemed very lovely in the half lights, as indeed she was.  She, too, looked up at him inquiringly.  At last he spoke.

“Mildred, you said just now that you would not marry anybody.  Will you make an exception?—­will you marry me?”

It was her turn to pause now.

“You are very good,” she murmured.

“No, I am not at all good.  You know how the case stands.  You know that I still love Angela, and that I shall in all probability always love her.  I cannot help that.  But if you will have me, Mildred, I will try to be a good husband to you, and to make you happy.  Will you marry me, dear?”

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