'I am very angry.'

She wondered what he meant - whether he wished to frighten her. If he did, the place was well chosen: this hard, melancholy dell, abandoned by the summer light, made her feel her loneliness. She looked around her, and her heart grew cold; for a moment her fear was great. But she could think of nothing to say, save to murmur, gently,' I am sorry.'

'You try my patience,' her father went on,' and you ought to know what I am. I am not a very good man. Though I am very smooth externally, at bottom I am very passionate; and I assure you I can be very hard.'

She could not think why he told her these things. Had he brought her there on purpose, and was it partly a plan? What was the plan? Catherine asked herself. Was it to startle her suddenly into a retraction - to take advantage of her by dread? Dread of what? The place was ugly and lonely, but the place could do her no harm. There was a kind of still intensity about her father which made him dangerous, but Catherine hardly went so far as to say to herself that it might be part of his plan to fasten his hand - the neat, fine, supple hand of a distinguished physician - in her throat. Nevertheless, she receded a step.' I am sure you can be anything you please,' she said; and it was her simple belief.

'I am very angry,' he replied, more sharply.' Why has it taken you so suddenly?'

'It has not taken me suddenly. I have been raging inwardly for the last six months. But just now this seemed a good place to flare out. It's so quiet, and we are alone.'

'Yes, it's very quiet,' said Catherine, vaguely looking about her.' Won't you come back to the carriage?'

'In a moment. Do you mean that in all this time you have not yielded an inch?'

'I would if I could, father; but I can't.' The Doctor looked round him too.' Should you like to left in such a place as this, to starve?'

'What do you mean?' cried the girl.' That will be your fate - that's how he will leave you.' He would not touch her, but he had touched Morris. The warmth came back to her heart.' That is not true, father,' she broke out,' and you ought not to say it. It is not right, and it's not true.'

He shook his head slowly.' No, it's not right, because you won't believe it. But it is true. Come back to the carriage.'

He turned away, and she followed him; he went faster, and was presently much in advance. But from time to time he stopped, without turning round, to let her keep up with him, and she made her way forward with difficulty, her heart beating with the excitement of having for the first time spoken to him in violence. By this time it had grown almost dark, and she ended by losing sight of him. But she kept her course, and after a little, the valley making a sudden turn, she gained the road, where the carriage stood waiting. In it sat her father, rigid and silent; in silence, too, she took her place beside him.

It seemed to her, later, in looking back upon all this, that for days afterward not a word had been exchanged between them. The scene had been a strange one, but it had not permanently affected her feeling toward her father, for it was natural, after all, that he should occasionally make a scene of some kind, and he had let her alone for six months. The strangest part of it was that he had said he was not a good man; Catherine wondered a good deal what he had meant by that. The statement failed to appeal to her credence, and it was not grateful to any resentment that she entertained. Even in the utmost bitterness that she might feel, it would give her no satisfaction to think him less complete. Such a saying as that was apart of his great subtlety - men so clever as he might say anything and mean anything; and as to his being hard, that surely, in a man, was a virtue.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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