`Ah, now I see how it is you know Shakespeare and everything, and have learned so much since you felt school - which always seemed to me witchcraft before - part of your general uncanniness,' said Lucy.

She mused a little with her eyes downward and then added, looking at Maggie, `It is very beautiful that you should love Philip: I never thought such a happiness would befall him. And in my opinion, you ought not to give him up. There are obstacles now, but they may be done away with in time.'

Maggie shook her head.

`Yes, yes,' persisted Lucy. `I can't help being hopeful about it. There is something romantic in it - out of the common way - just what everything that happens to you ought to be. And Philip will adore you like a husband in a fairy tale. O I shall puzzle my small brain to contrive some plot that will bring everybody into the right mind - so that you may marry Philip, when I marry - somebody else. Wouldn't that be a pretty ending to all my poor, poor Maggie's troubles?'

Maggie tried to smile, but shivered, as if she felt a sudden chill.

`Ah, dear, you are cold,' said Lucy. `You must go to bed; and so must I. I dare not think what time it is.'

They kissed each other and Lucy went away - possessed of a confidence which had a strong influence over her subsequent impressions. Maggie had been thoroughly sincere: her nature had never found it easy to be otherwise. But confidences are sometimes blinding even when they are sincere.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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