`Because I don't like to put myself under obligations that I can never repay--I am obliged to you, already, for your kindness to my son; but his grateful affection, and your own good feelings, must reward you for that.'

`Nonsense!' ejaculated I.

She turned her eyes on me again, with a look of quiet, grave surprise, that had the effect of a rebuke, whether intended for such or not.

`Then you won't take the book?' I asked, more mildly than I had yet spoken.

`I will gladly take it, if you will let me pay for it.'

I told her the exact price, and the cost of the carnage besides, in as calm a tone as I Could command-- for in fact, I was ready to weep with disappointment and vexation.

She produced her purse, and coolly counted out the money, but hesitated to put it into my hand. Attentively regarding me, in a tone of soothing softness she observed,--

`You think yourself insulted, Mr Markham--I wish I could make you understand that--that I--`'

`I do understand you, perfectly,' I said. `You think that if you were to accept that trifle from me now, I should presume upon it hereafter; but you are mistaken:--if you will only oblige me by taking it, believe me, I shall build no hopes upon it, and consider this no precedent for future favours:--and it is nonsense to talk about putting yourself under obligations to me when you must know that in such a case the obligation is entirely on my side,--the favour on yours.

`Well then, I'll take you at your word,' she answered, with a most angelic smile, returning the odious money to her purse--`but remember!'

`I will remember--what I have said;--but do not you punish my presumption by withdrawing your friendship entirely from me,--or expect me to atone for it by being more distant than before,' said I, extending my hand to take leave, for I was too much excited to remain.

`Well then! let us be as we were,' replied she, frankly placing her hand in mine; and while I held it there, I had much difficulty to refrain from pressing it to my lips;--but that would be suicidal madness: I had been bold enough already, and this premature offering had wellnigh given the death-blow to my hopes.

It was with an agitated, burning heart and brain that I hurried homewards, regardless of that scorching noonday sun--forgetful of everything but her I had just left--regretting nothing but her impenetrability, and my own precipitancy and want of tact--fearing nothing but her hateful resolution, and my inability to overcome it--hoping nothing--but halt,--I will not bore you with my conflIcting hopes and fears--my serious cogitations and resolves.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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