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The New Magdalen

28. Sentence Is Pronounced On Her
IT was done. The last tones of her voice died away in silence.
Her eyes still rested on Horace. After hearing what he had heard could he resist that
gentle, pleading look? Would he forgive her? A while since Julian had seen tears on his
cheeks, and had believed that he felt for her. Why was he now silent? Was it possible that
he only felt for himself?
For the last time--at the crisis of her life--Julian spoke for her. He had never loved her as
he loved her at that moment; it tried even his generous nature to plead her cause with
Horace against himself. But he had promised her, without reserve, all the help that her
truest friend could offer. Faithfully and manfully he redeemed his promise.
"Horace!" he said.
Horace slowly looked up. Julian rose and approached him.
"She has told you to thank me, if her conscience has spoken. Thank the noble nature
which answered when I called upon it! Own the priceless value of a woman who can
speak the truth. Her heartfelt repentance is a joy in heaven. Shall it not plead for her on
earth? Honor her, if you are a Christian! Feel for her, if you are a man!"
He waited. Horace never answered him.
Mercy's eyes turned tearfully on Julian. His heart was the heart that felt for her! His
words were the words which comforted and pardoned her! When she looked back again
at Horace, it was with an effort. His last hold on her was lost. In her inmost mind a
thought rose unbidden--a thought which was not to be repressed. "Can I ever have loved
this man?"
She advanced a step toward him ; it was not possible, even yet, to completely forgot the
past. She held out her hand.
He rose on his side--without looking at her.
"Before we part forever," she said to him, "will you take my hand as a token that you
forgive me?"
He hesitated. He half lifted his hand. The next moment the generous impulse died away
in him. In its place came the mean fear of what might happen if he trusted himself to the
dangerous fascination of her touch. His hand dropped again at his side; he turned away
quickly.
"I can't forgive her!" he said.
 
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