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measure, and on a second interview she faced the music, she engaged.” And Douglas,
with this, made a pause that, for the benefit of the company, moved me to throw in
“The moral of which was of course the seduction exercised by the splendid young man.
She succumbed to it.” He got up and, as he had done the night before, went to the fire,
gave a stir to a log with his foot, then stood a moment with his back to us. “She saw
him only twice.” “Yes, but that’s just the beauty of her passion.” A little to my surprise,
on this, Douglas turned round to me. “It was the beauty of it. There were others,” he
went on, “who hadn’t succumbed. He told her frankly all his difficulty-that for several
applicants the conditions had been prohibitive. They were, somehow, simply afraid. It
sounded dull-it sounded strange; and all the more so because of his main condition.”
“Which was-?” “That she should never trouble him-but never, never: neither appeal
nor complain nor write about anything; only meet all questions herself, receive all
moneys from his solicitor, take the whole thing over and let him alone. She promised to
do this, and she mentioned to me that when, for a moment, disburdened, delighted, he
held her hand, thanking her for the sacrifice, she already felt rewarded.” “But was that
all her reward?” one of the ladies asked.

“She never saw him again.” “Oh!” said the lady; which, as our friend immediately left
us again, was the only other word of importance contributed to the subject till, the next
night, by the corner of the hearth, in the best chair, he opened the faded red cover of a
thin old-fashioned gilt-edged album. The whole thing took indeed more nights than
one, but on the first occasion the same lady put another question. “What is your title?”
“I haven’t one.” “Oh, I have!” I said. But Douglas, without heeding me, had begun to
read with a fine clearness that was like a rendering to the ear of the beauty of his
author’s hand.
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