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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 622 pages of information about The Claverings.

“I know that you would give your heart’s blood for me; but nothing will be of avail now.  Do not look at me with melancholy eyes like that.  Cissy, it will not kill me.  It is only the doubt that kills one.”

“I will not look at you with melancholy eyes, but you must listen to me.  She does-not herself know what his intention is.”

“But I know it, and I know my own.  Read my letter, Cissy.  There is not one word of anger in it, nor will I ever utter a reproach.  He knew her first.  If he loved her through it all, it was a pity he could not be constant to his love, even though she was false to him.”

“But you won’t hear me, Flo.  As far as I can learn the truth—­as I myself most firmly believe-when he went to her on her return to England, he had no other intention than that of visiting an old friend.”

“But what sort of friend, Cissy?”

“He had no idea then of being untrue to you.  But when he saw her, the old intimacy came back.  That was natural.  Thea he was dazzled by her beauty.”

“Is she then so beautiful?”

“She is very beautiful.”

“Let him go to her,” said Florence, tearing herself away from her sister’s arm, and walking across the room with a quick and almost angry step.  “Let her have him.  Cissy, there shall be an end of it.  I will not condescend to solicit his love.  If she is such as you say, and if beauty with him goes for everything, what chance could there be for such as me?”

“I did not say that beauty with him went for everything.”

“Of course it does.  I ought to have known that it would be so with such a one as him.  And then she is rich also—­wonderfully rich!  What right can I have to think of him?”

“Florence, you are unjust.  You do not even suspect that it is her money.”

“To me it is the same thing.  I suppose that a woman who is so beautiful has a right to everything.  I know that I am plain, and I will be—­content—­in future—­to think no more—­” Poor Florence, when she had got as far as that, broke down, and could go on no further with the declaration which she had been about to make as to her future prospects.  Mrs. Burton, taking advantage of this, went on with her story, struggling, not altogether unsuccessfully, to assume a calm tone of unimpassioned reason.

“As I said before, he was dazzled—­”

“Dazzled! oh!”

“But even then he had no idea of being untrue to you.”

“No; he was untrue without an idea.  That is worse.”

“Florence, you are perverse, and are determined to be unfair.  I must beg that you will hear me to the end, so that then you may be able to judge what course you ought to follow.”  This Mrs. Burton said with an air of great authority; after which she continued in a voice something less stern—­“He thought of doing no injury to you when he went to see her; but something of the feeling of his old love grew upon him when he was in her company, and he became

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