This confession was very awkward and sudden, Adam felt, for he thought Dinah must understand all he meant. But the frankness of the words caused her immediately to interpret them into a renewal of his brotherly regrets that she was going away, and she answered calmly, “Do not be careful and troubled for me, Adam. I have all things and abound at Snowfield. And my mind is at rest, for I am not seeking my own will in going.”
“But if things were different, Dinah,” said Adam, hesitatingly. “If you knew things that perhaps you don’t know now....”
Dinah looked at him inquiringly, but instead of going on, he reached a chair and brought it near the corner of the table where she was sitting. She wondered, and was afraid—and the next moment her thoughts flew to the past: was it something about those distant unhappy ones that she didn’t know?
Adam looked at her. It was so sweet to look at her eyes, which had now a self-forgetful questioning in them—for a moment he forgot that he wanted to say anything, or that it was necessary to tell her what he meant.
“Dinah,” he said suddenly, taking both her hands between his, “I love you with my whole heart and soul. I love you next to God who made me.”
Dinah’s lips became pale, like her cheeks, and she trembled violently under the shock of painful joy. Her hands were cold as death between Adam’s. She could not draw them away, because he held them fast.
“Don’t tell me you can’t love me, Dinah. Don’t tell me we must part and pass our lives away from one another.”
The tears were trembling in Dinah’s eyes, and they fell before she could answer. But she spoke in a quiet low voice.
“Yes, dear Adam, we must submit to another Will. We must part.”
“Not if you love me, Dinah—not if you love me,” Adam said passionately. “Tell me—tell me if you can love me better than a brother?”
Dinah was too entirely reliant on the Supreme guidance to attempt to achieve any end by a deceptive concealment. She was recovering now from the first shock of emotion, and she looked at Adam with simple sincere eyes as she said, “Yes, Adam, my heart is drawn strongly towards you; and of my own will, if I had no clear showing to the contrary, I could find my happiness in being near you and ministering to you continually. I fear I should forget to rejoice and weep with others; nay, I fear I should forget the Divine presence, and seek no love but yours.”
Adam did not speak immediately. They sat looking at each other in delicious silence—for the first sense of mutual love excludes other feelings; it will have the soul all to itself.
“Then, Dinah,” Adam said at last, “how can there be anything contrary to what’s right in our belonging to one another and spending our lives together? Who put this great love into our hearts? Can anything be holier than that? For we can help one another in everything as is good. I’d never think o’ putting myself between you and God, and saying you oughtn’t to do this and you oughtn’t to do that. You’d follow your conscience as much as you do now.”