Red Money eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 342 pages of information about Red Money.

“Well?” he replied in the same tone, and without raising his eyes.

“Is that all you have to say, Noel?”

“I don’t see what else I can say.  Pine evidently guessed that we loved one another, although heaven knows that our affection has been innocent enough, and has taken this way to part us forever.”

“Will it part us forever?”

“I think so.  As an honorable man, and one who loves you dearly, I can’t expect you to give up two millions for the sake of love in a cottage with me.  It is asking too much.”

“Not when a woman loves a man as I love you.”

This time Lambert did look up, and his eyes flashed with surprise and delight.  “Agnes, you don’t mean to say that you would—­”

She cut him short by sitting down beside him and taking his hand.  “I would rather live on a crust with you in the Abbot’s Wood Cottage than in Park Lane a lonely woman with ample wealth.”

“You needn’t remain lonely long,” said Lambert moodily.  “Pine’s will does not forbid you to marry any one else.”

“Do I deserve that answer, Noel, after what I have just said?”

“No, dear, no.”  He pressed her hand warmly.  “But you must make some allowance for my feelings.  It is right that a man should sacrifice all for a woman, but that a woman should give up everything for a man seems wrong.”

“Many women do, if they love truly as I do.”

“But, Agnes, think what people will say about me.”

“That will be your share of the sacrifice,” she replied promptly.  “If I do this, you must do that.  There is no difficulty when the matter is looked on in that light.  But there is a graver question to be answered.”

Lambert looked at her in a questioning manner and read the answer in her eyes.  “You mean about the property of the family?”

“Yes.”  Agnes heaved a sigh and shook her head.  “I wish I had been born a village girl rather than the daughter of a great house.  Rank has its obligations, Noel.  I recognized that before, and therefore married Hubert.  He was a good, kind man, and, save that I lost you, I had no reason to regret becoming his wife.  But I did not think that he would have put such an insult on me.”

“Insult, dear?” Lambert flushed hotly.

“What else can you call this forbidding me to marry you?  The will is certain to be filed at Somerset House, and the contents will be made known to the public in the usual way, through the newspapers.  Then what will people say, Noel?  Why, that I became Hubert’s wife in order to get his money, since, knowing that he was consumptive, I hoped he would soon die, and that as a rich widow I could console myself with you.  They will chuckle to see how my scheme has been overturned by the will.”

“But you made no such scheme.”

“Of course not.  Still, everyone will credit me with having done so.  As a woman, who has been insulted, and by a man who has no reason to mistrust me, I feel inclined to renounce the money and marry you, if only to show how I despise the millions.  But as a Lambert I must think again of the family as I thought before.  The only question is, whether it is wise to place duty above love for the second time, considering the misery we have endured, and the small thanks we have received for our self-denial?”

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Red Money from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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