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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 308 pages of information about The Imperialist.

“There is no sophist like pride.  Look at the case on its merits.  On the one side a disappointment for Miss Cameron.  I don’t doubt she’s counting on coming, but at worst a worldly disappointment.  And the very grievous humiliation for you of writing to tell her that you have made a mistake.  You deserve that, Finlay.  If you wouldn’t be a man who has jilted a woman you have no business to lend yourself to such matters with the capacity of a blind kitten.  That is the damage on the one side.  On the other—­”

“I know all that there is to be said,” interrupted Finlay, “on the other.”

“Then face it, man.  Go home and write the whole truth to Bross.  I’ll do it for you—­no, I won’t, either.  Stand up to it yourself.  You must hurt one of two women; choose the one that will suffer only in her vanity.  I tell you that Scotch entanglement of yours is pure cardboard farce—­it won’t stand examination.  It’s appalling to think that out of an extravagant, hypersensitive conception of honour, egged on by that poor girl, you could be capable of turning it into the reality of your life.”

“I’ve taken all these points of view, sir, and I can’t throw the woman over.  The objection to it isn’t in reason—­it’s somehow in the past and the blood.  It would mean the sacrifice of all that I hold most valuable in myself.  I should expect myself after that to stick at nothing—­why should I?”

“There is one point of view that perhaps you have not taken,” said Dr Drummond, in his gravest manner.  “You are settled here in your charge.  In all human probability you will remain here in East Elgin, as I have remained here, building and fortifying the place you have won for the Lord in the hearts of the people.  Advena Murchison’s life will also go on here—­there is nothing to take it away.  You have both strong natures.  Are you prepared for that?”

“We are both prepared for it.  We shall both be equal to it.  I count upon her, and she counts upon me, to furnish in our friendship the greater part of whatever happiness life may have in store for us.”

“Then you must be a pair of born lunatics!” said Dr Drummond, his jaw grim, his eyes snapping.  “What you propose is little less than a crime, Finlay.  It can come to nothing but grief, if no worse.  And your wife, poor woman, whatever she deserves, it is better than that!  My word, if she could choose her prospect, think you she would hesitate?  Finlay, I entreat you as a matter of ordinary prudence, go home and break it off.  Leave Advena out of it—­you have no business to make this marriage whether or no.  Leave other considerations to God and to the future.  I beseech you, bring it to an end!”

Finlay got up and held out his hand.  “I tell you from my heart it is impossible,” he said.

“I can’t move you?” said Dr Drummond.  “Then let us see if the Lord can.  You will not object, Finlay, to bring the matter before Him, here and now, in a few words of prayer?  I should find it hard to let you go without them.”

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