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Armadale

directly for his pains. Could he solemnly declare that he would never regret taking
Neelie away from home? Allan called Heaven to witness again, louder than ever.
All to no purpose! The ravenous female appetite for tender protestations still
hungered for more. "I know what will happen one of these days," persisted
Neelie. "You will see some other girl who is prettier than I am; and you will wish
you had married her instead of me!"
As Allan opened his lips for a final outburst of asseveration, the stable clock at the
great house was faintly audible in the distance striking the hour. Neelie started
guiltily. It was breakfast-time at the cottage--in other words, time to take leave. At
the last moment her heart went back to her father; and her head sank on Allan's
bosom as she tried to say, Good-by. "Papa has always been so kind to me, Allan,"
she whispered, holding him back tremulously when he turned to leave her. "It
seems so guilty and so heartless to go away from him and be married in secret.
Oh, do, do think before you really go to London; is there no way of making him a
little kinder and juster to you?" The question was useless; the major's resolutely
unfavorable reception of Allan's letter rose in Neelie's memory, and answered her
as the words passed her lips. With a girl's impulsiveness she pushed Allan away
before he could speak, and signed to him impatiently to go. The conflict of
contending emotions, which she had mastered thus far, burst its way outward in
spite of her after he had waved his hand for the last time, and had disappeared in
the depths of the dell. When she turned from the place, on her side, her long-
restrained tears fell freely at last, and made the lonely way back to the cottage the
dimmest prospect that Neelie had seen for many a long day past.
As she hurried homeward, the leaves parted behind her, and Miss Gwilt stepped
softly into the open space. She stood there in triumph, tall, beautiful, and resolute.
Her lovely color brightened while she watched Neelie's retreating figure hastening
lightly away from her over the grass.
"Cry, you little fool!" she said, with her quiet, clear tones, and her steady smile of
contempt. "Cry as you have never cried yet! You have seen the last of your
sweetheart."
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