He drew a little nearer to her as he asked the question, and looked at the book she held.
“Oh, it’s a Sunday book,” said Rhoda, simply. “‘The Pilgrim’s Progress.’ I like it very much.”
“I wonder whether you will care to hear of some good news I had to-day?”
“Oh yes; I shall be very glad to hear it.
“I think I stand a good chance of getting the head-mastership of Dorrington Proprietary School. Dorrington is in the next county, you know.”
“Oh! I’m very glad.”
“It would be a very good position. I am not certain of it yet, you know; but Dr. Bodkin has been very friendly, and has promised to canvass the governing committee for me.”
“Oh! I’m very glad indeed.”
“I don’t know yet myself whether I am very glad or not.”
Rhoda looked up at him in genuine surprise; but her eyes fell before the answering look they encountered, and she blushed from brow to chin.
“No; it all depends on you, Rhoda, whether I am glad of it to the bottom of my heart, or whether I give it all up as a thing not worth striving for.”
There was a pause, which Rhoda broke at length, because the silence 佛山南海桑拿休闲会所 embarrassed her unendurably.
“Oh, I don’t think it can depend upon me, Mr. Diamond,” she said, speaking in a little quivering voice that was barely audible; whilst, at the same time, she hurriedly turned over the pages of “The Pilgrim’s Progress” with her eyes fixed on them, although she assuredly did not see one letter. Diamond gently drew the book from her hand and took the hand in his own.
“Yes, Rhoda,” he said—and, having once called her so, his lips seemed to dwell lovingly on the sound of her name—”I think you do know! You must know that, if I look forward hopefully and happily to anything in my future life, it is only because I have a hope that you may be able to love me a little. I love you so much.”
She trembled violently, but did not withdraw her hand from his clasp. She sat quite still with downcast eyes, neither 佛山桑拿0757n moving nor looking to the right or the left.
“Rhoda! Rhoda! Won’t you say one word to me?”
“I’m trying—thinking what I ought to say,'” she answered, almost in a whisper.
“Is it so difficult, Rhoda?”
She made a strong effort to command her voice, but she had not the courage to look full at him as she answered, “Yes; it is very difficult for me. I want to do right, Mr. Diamond. I want not to deceive you.”
“I am very sure that you will not deceive me, Rhoda!”
“Not if I can help it. But it is so hard to say just the exact truth.”
“I don’t find it hard to say the exact truth to you. You may believe me implicitly, Rhoda, when I say that I love you with all my heart, and will do my best to make you happy if you will let me.”
“I do believe you. I believe you are really fond of me. Only—of course you are much cleverer and 佛山桑拿部长电话 wiser than I am, except in thinking too much of me—and you can say just whatever is in your mind. But I can’t; not all at once.”
“I will wait, Rhoda. I will have patience, and not distress you.”
The tears were falling down her cheeks now, not from sorrow, but from sheer agitation. She thanked him by a gesture of her head, and drew her hand away from his very gently, and wiped her eyes. He could not command himself at sight of her tears, although he had resolved not to speak again until she should be calm and ready to hear him.
“My darling,” he said, clasping his hands together and looking at her with eyes full of anxious compassion, “don’t cry! Is it my fault? You must have had some knowledge of what was in my heart to say to you! I have not startled you and taken you by surprise?”
“No; that’s just it, Mr. Diamond. It’s that 佛山桑拿有什么服务 that makes me feel so afraid of doing wrong and deceiving you. I—I—have thought for some time past that you were getting to like me very much. Some one said so too. But yet I couldn’t do anything, could I? I couldn’t say, ‘Don’t get fond of me, Mr. Diamond!'”
“It would have been quite in vain to say, ‘Don’t get fond of me.’ I’m a desperately obstinate man, Rhoda!”
“So then I—I mean to tell you the exact truth, you know, as well as I can. I began to think whether I liked you very much.”
There was a rather long silence.
“Well, I thought—yes, I did.”
He clasped his arms round her with a sudden impetuous movement, but she held him off with her two hands on his shoulders. “No, but please listen! I did love somebody else once very much. Of course we were very young, and it was nonsense. But I did wrong in being 佛山桑拿会所上门服务 secret, and keeping it from father. And I never want to be secret any more. And—though I do like you very much, and—and—I should be very sorry if you went away—yet it isn’t quite the same that I felt before. That is the truth as well as I can say it, and I am very grateful to you for thinking so well of me.”
He drew the young head with its soft shining chestnut curls down on to his breast, and pressed his lips to her cheek.
“Now you are mine, my very own—are you not, Rhoda?”
“Yes; if you like, Mr. Diamond.”
Matthew Diamond had been successful in his wooing, after feeling very doubtful of success. And he should naturally have been elated in proportion to his previous trepidation. And he was happy, of course; yet scarcely with the fulness of joyful triumph he had promised himself if pretty Rhoda should incline her ear to his suit. There was a subtle flavour of disappointment in it all. Rhoda had behaved very well, very honestly, in making that effort to be quite clear and candid about her feelings. It was a great thing to be able to feel perfect confidence in the woman who was to be his companion for life. And as to her loving him with the same fervour he felt towards her, that was not to be expected. He never had expected that. She was gentle, sweet, modest, thoroughly feminine, and exquisitely pretty. She was willing to give herself to him, and would doubtless be a true and affectionate wife. He held her slight waist in his arm, and her head rested confidingly on his bosom. Of course he was very happy. Only—if only Rhoda were not quite so silent and cold; if she would say one little word of tenderness, or even nestle herself fondly against his shoulder without speaking!
Some such thoughts were vaguely flitting through Diamond’s mind when Rhoda raised her head, and, emboldened by the gathering dusk, looked up into his face and said, “You know it cannot be unless father consents.”
“I shall speak to him this evening. Do you think he will be stern and hard to persuade, Rhoda?”