dark you could scarcely see, and Mr Penniman was intensely agitated - he was so sympathetic. I don't believe he could have done it again.'
'Unfortunately, Catherine and I have not Mr Penniman to marry us,' said Morris.
'No, but you have me!' rejoined Mrs Penniman, expressively. 'I can't perform the ceremony, but I can help you; I can watch!'
'The woman's an idiot!' thought Morris; but he was obliged to say something different. It was not, however, materially more civil. 'Was it in order to tell me this that you requested I would meet you here?'
Mrs Penniman had been conscious of a certain vagueness in her errand, and not of being able to offer him any very tangible reward for his long walk. 'I thought perhaps you would like to see one who is so near to Catherine,' she observed, with considerable majesty; 'and also,' she added, 'that you would value an opportunity of sending her something.'
Morris extended his empty hands with a melancholy smile. 'I am greatly obliged to you, but I have nothing to send.'
'Haven't you a word?' asked his companion, with her suggestive smile coming back.
Morris frowned again. 'Tell her to hold fast, , he said rather curtly. 'That is a good word - a noble word: it will make her happy for many days. She is very touching, very brave,' Mrs Penniman went on, arranging her mantle and preparing to depart. While she was so engaged she had an inspiration; she found the phrase that she could boldly offer as a vindication of the step she had taken. 'If you marry Catherine at all risks,' she said, 'you will give my brother a proof of your being what he pretends to doubt.'
'What he pretends to doubt?' 'Don't you know what that is?' Mrs Penniman asked, almost playfully.
'It does not concern me to know,' said Morris, grandly. 'Of course it makes you angry.'
'I despise it,' Morris declared. ' Ah, you know what it is, then?' said Mrs Penniman, shaking her finger at him. 'He pretends that you like - you like the money.'
Morris hesitated a moment; and then, as if he spoke advisedly, 'I do like the money!'
'Ah, but not - but not as he means it. You don't like it more than Catherine?'
He leaned his elbows on the table and buried his head in his hands. 'You torture me!' he murmured. And, indeed, this was almost the effect of the poor lady's too importunate interest in his situation.
But she insisted in making her point. 'If you marry her in spite of him, he will take for granted that you expect nothing of him, and are prepared to do without it; so he will see that you are disinterested.'
Morris raised his head a little, following this argument. ' And what shall I gain by that?'
'Why, that he will see that he has been wrong in thinking that you wished to get his money.'
' And seeing that I wish he would go to the deuce with it, he will leave it to a hospital. Is that what you mean?' asked Morris.
'No, I don't mean that; though that would be very grand,' Mrs Penniman quickly added. 'I mean that, having done you such an injustice, he will think it his duty, at the end, to make some amends.'
Morris shook his head, though it must be confessed he was a little struck with this idea. 'Do you think he is so sentimental?'
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