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Edward Payson Roe
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 334 pages of information about Taken Alive.

“I cannot blame you that you think me capable of mocking the noble candor which has cost you so dear, as I can now understand.  I cannot ask you to believe that I appreciate your heroic impulse of self-sacrifice—­your purpose to atone for wrong by inflicting irreparable wrong on yourself.  It is natural that you should think of me only as an instrument of revenge with no more feeling than some keen-edged weapon would have.  This also is the inevitable penalty of my course.  When I speak of my love I cannot complain if you smile in bitter incredulity.  But I have at least proved that I have a resolute will and that I keep my word; and I again assure you that it shall be known this very night that you have refused me, that I offered you my hand, that you already had my heart, where your image is enshrined with that of my mother, and that I entreated you to be my wife.  My cousin alone guessed my miserable triumph; all shall know of yours.”

As he spoke with impassioned earnestness, the confusion passed from her mind.  She felt the truth of his words; she knew that her ambitious dream had been fulfilled, and that she had achieved the conquest of a man upon whom all others had smiled in vain.  But how immeasurably different were her emotions from those which she had once anticipated!  Not her beauty, not her consummate skill in fascination had wrought this miracle, but her woman’s heart, awakened at last; and it thrilled with such unspeakable joy that she turned away to hide its reflex in her face.  He was misled by the act into believing that she could not forgive him, and yet was perplexed when she murmured with a return of her old piquant humor: 

“You are mistaken, Mr. Ackland; it shall never be known that I refused you.”

“How can you prevent it?”

“If your words are sincere, you will submit to such terms as I choose to make.”

“I am sincere, and my actions shall prove it; but I shall permit no mistaken self-sacrifice on your part, nor any attempt to shield me from the punishment I well deserve.”

She suddenly turned upon him a radiant face in which he read his happiness, and faltered: 

“Jack, I do believe you, although the change seems wrought by some heavenly magic.  But it will take a long time to pay you up.  I hope to be your dear torment for a lifetime.”

He caught her in such a strong, impetuous embrace that she gasped: 

“I thought you were—­cold to our sex.”

“It’s not your sex that I am clasping, but you—­you, my Eve.  Like the first man, I have won my bride under the green trees and beneath the open sky.”

“Yes, Jack; and I give you my whole heart as truly as did the first woman when there was but one man in all the world.  That is my revenge.”

This is what Will Munson wrote some weeks later: 

“Well, Jack, I’ve had the yellow fever, and it was the most fortunate event of my life.  I was staying with a charming family, and they would not permit my removal to a hospital.  One of my bravest and most devoted nurses has consented to become my wife.  I hope you punished that little wretch Eva Van Tyne as she deserved.”

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