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We walked a little farther in silence, and then he spoke.
''Tan't that I forgive her. 'Tan't that so much. 'Tis more as I
beg of her to forgive me, for having pressed my affections upon
her. Odd times, I think that if I hadn't had her promise fur to
marry me, sir, she was that trustful of me, in a friendly way, that
she'd have told me what was struggling in her mind, and would have
counselled with me, and I might have saved her.'
I pressed his hand. 'Is that all?'
'Theer's yet a something else,' he returned, 'if I can say it,
We walked on, farther than we had walked yet, before he spoke
again. He was not crying when he made the pauses I shall express
by lines. He was merely collecting himself to speak very plainly.
'I loved her - and I love the mem'ry of her - too deep - to be able
to lead her to believe of my own self as I'm a happy man. I could
only be happy - by forgetting of her - and I'm afeerd I couldn't
hardly bear as she should be told I done that. But if you, being
so full of learning, Mas'r Davy, could think of anything to say as
might bring her to believe I wasn't greatly hurt: still loving of
her, and mourning for her: anything as might bring her to believe
as I was not tired of my life, and yet was hoping fur to see her
without blame, wheer the wicked cease from troubling and the weary
are at rest - anything as would ease her sorrowful mind, and yet
not make her think as I could ever marry, or as 'twas possible that
anyone could ever be to me what she was - I should ask of you to
say that - with my prayers for her - that was so dear.'
I pressed his manly hand again, and told him I would charge myself
to do this as well as I could.
'I thankee, sir,' he answered. ''Twas kind of you to meet me.
'Twas kind of you to bear him company down. Mas'r Davy, I
unnerstan' very well, though my aunt will come to Lon'on afore they
sail, and they'll unite once more, that I am not like to see him
agen. I fare to feel sure on't. We doen't say so, but so 'twill
be, and better so. The last you see on him - the very last - will
you give him the lovingest duty and thanks of the orphan, as he was
ever more than a father to?'
This I also promised, faithfully.