“I want to speak to you.”
“Then you might turn and look at a chap, Marjorie.”
“I—I prefer to—to look out through the window,” she said in a stifled voice.
Standing in the room he beheld her, slim and graceful, dark against the light patch of the window, her back obstinately turned to him; looking at her, there came a great and deep tenderness into his face, the light of a very honest and intense love.
“Tell me, sweetheart, then,” he said—“tell me in your own way, what is it? Nothing very serious, is it?” There was a suggestion of laughter in his voice.
“It is very serious, Tom.”
“It—it concerns you—me and you—our future.”
“Yes, dear, then it is serious.” The laughter was gone; there came a look of fear, of anxiety into his eyes.
It could not be that she was going to discard him, turn him down, end it all now? But she was.
“Tom, it is only right and honest of me to tell you that—that”—her voice shook—“that I have made a mistake.”
“That you do not love me?” he said, and his voice was strangely quiet.
“Oh, Tom, I believed I did. It all seemed so different when we used to meet, knowing that everyone was against us. It seemed so romantic, so—so nice, and now ...” Her voice trailed off miserably.
“And now, now, sweet,” and his voice was filled with tenderness and yearning, “now I fall far short of what you hoped for.”
“Oh, it isn’t that. It is I—I—who am to blame, not you. I was a senseless, romantic little fool, a child, and now I am a woman.”
“You don’t love me, Marjorie?”
Silence for a moment, then she answered in a low voice: “No!”
“Nor ever will, your love can’t come back again?”
“I don’t think it—it was ever there. I was wrong; I did not understand. I was foolish and weak. I thought it fine to—to steal away and meet you. I think I put a halo of romance about your head, and now—”
“A halo of romance about my head,” he repeated. He looked down at his hands, grimed with the work he had been at; he smiled, but there was no mirth in his smile.
This was the end then! And he loved her, Heaven knew how he loved her! He looked at the unyielding little figure against the light, and in his eyes was a great longing and a subdued passion.
“So it—it is the end, Marjorie?”
“I want it to be.”
“Yes, I understand. I knew that I was not good enough, never good enough for you—far, far beneath you, dear. Only I would have tried to make you happy—that is what I meant, you understand that? I would have given my life to making you happy, little girl. Perhaps I was a fool to think I could. I know now that I could not.”
“Tom, I am sorry,” she said. “I am sorry.”
He came to her, he put his hand on her arm.