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Ellen Wood (author)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 762 pages of information about Verner's Pride.

“How I wish I dare ask him to come sooner than that to see us!  But he might think it strange.  I wonder he should not come! there’s Christmas, there’s Easter, and he must have holiday then.  A whole year, perhaps more; and not to see him!”

She passed out of the room and descended, her soft skirts of pink-shaded cashmere sweeping the staircase.  You saw her in it the evening she first came to Lady Verner’s.  It had lain by almost ever since, and was now converted into a morning dress.  The breakfast-room was empty.  Instead of being behind her time, Lucy found she was before it.  Lady Verner had not risen; she rarely did rise to breakfast; and Decima was in Lionel’s room, busy over some of his things.

Lionel himself was the next to enter.  His features broke into a glad smile when he saw Lucy.  A fairer picture, she, Mr. Lionel Verner, than even that other vision of loveliness which your mind has been pleased to make its ideal—­Sibylla!

“Down first, Lucy!” he cried, shaking hands with her.  “You wish me somewhere, I dare say, getting you up before your time.”

“By how much—­a few minutes?” she answered, laughing.  “It wants twenty minutes to nine.  What would they have said to me at the rectory, had I come down so late as that?”

“Ah, well, you won’t have me here to torment you to-morrow.  I have been a trouble to you, Lucy, take it altogether.  You will be glad to see my back turned.”

Lucy shook her head.  She looked shyly up at him in her timidity; but she answered truthfully still.

“I shall be sorry; not glad.”

“Sorry!  Why should you be sorry, Lucy?” and his voice insensibly assumed a tone of gentleness.  “You cannot have cared for me; for the companionship of a half-dead fellow, like myself!”

Lucy rallied her courage.  “Perhaps it was because you were half dead that I cared for you,” she answered.

“I suppose it was,” mused Lionel, aloud, his thoughts cast back to the past.  “I will bid you good-bye now, Lucy, while we are alone.  Believe me that I part from you with regret; that I do heartily thank you for all you have been to me.”

Lucy looked up at him, a yearning, regretful sort of look, and her eyelashes grew wet.  Lionel had her hand in his, and was looking down at her.

“Lucy, I do think you are sorry to part with me!” he exclaimed.

“Just a little,” she answered.

If you, good, grave sir, had been stoical enough to resist the upturned face, Lionel was not.  He bent his lips and left a kiss upon it.

“Keep it until we meet again,” he whispered.

Jan came in while they were at breakfast.

“I can’t stop a minute,” were his words when Decima asked him why he did not sit down.  “I thought I’d run up and say good-bye to Lionel, but I am wanted in all directions.  Mrs. Verner has sent for me, and there are the regular patients.”

“Dr. West attends Mrs. Verner, Jan,” said Decima.

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