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Two on a Tower

Chapter 31
Swithin's midnight excursion to the tower in the cause of science led him to oversleep
himself, and when the brother and sister met at breakfast in the morning he did not
appear.
'Don't disturb him,--don't disturb him,' said Louis laconically. 'Hullo, Viviette, what are
you reading there that makes you flame up so?'
She was glancing over a letter that she had just opened, and at his words looked up with
misgiving.
The incident of the previous night left her in great doubt as to what her bearing towards
him ought to be. She had made no show of resenting his conduct at the time, from a
momentary supposition that he must know all her secret; and afterwards, finding that he
did not know it, it seemed too late to affect indignation at his suspicions. So she
preserved a quiet neutrality. Even had she resolved on an artificial part she might have
forgotten to play it at this instant, the letter being of a kind to banish previous
considerations.
'It is a letter from Bishop Helmsdale,' she faltered.
'Well done! I hope for your sake it is an offer.'
'That's just what it is.'
'No,--surely?' said Louis, beginning a laugh of surprise.
'Yes,' she returned indifferently. 'You can read it, if you like.'
'I don't wish to pry into a communication of that sort.'
'Oh, you may read it,' she said, tossing the letter across to him.
Louis thereupon read as under:--
'THE PALACE, MELCHESTER, June 28, 18--.
'MY DEAR LADY CONSTANTINE,--During the two or three weeks that have elapsed
since I experienced the great pleasure of renewing my acquaintance with you, the varied
agitation of my feelings has clearly proved that my only course is to address you by
letter, and at once. Whether the subject of my communication be acceptable to you or not,
I can at least assure you that to suppress it would be far less natural, and upon the whole
less advisable, than to speak out frankly, even if afterwards I hold my peace for ever.
 
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