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Oliver's Bride: A true Story

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Pages: 87

Published: 9 months ago

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‘I have not been always what I ought to have been,’ he said, ‘you must understand that, Grace. I can’t let you take me without telling you, though it’s against myself. I have not been the man that your husband ought to be, that is the truth.’ She smiled upon him with all the tenderness of which her eyes were capable, which was saying much, and pressed the hands which held hers. They had just, after many difficulties and embarrassments and delay, said to each other all that people say when, from being strangers, they become one and conclude to part no more. They were standing together in all the joyful agitation and excitement which accompany this explanation—their hearts beating high, their faces illuminated by the radiance of the delight which is always a surprise to the true lover, even when to others it has been most certain and evident. Their friends had known for weeks that this was what it was coming to; but he was pale with the ineffable discovery that she loved him, and she all-enveloped in the very bloom of a blush for pure wonder of this extraordinary certainty that he loved her. She looked at him and smiled, their clasped hands changing their action for the moment, she pressing his in token of utmost confidence as his hitherto had pressed hers. ‘I do not mean only that I do not deserve you, which is what any man would say,’ he resumed, after the unspoken yet unmistakable answer she had made him. ‘The best man on earth might say so, and speak the truth. No man is good enough for such as you; but I mean more than that.’ ‘You mean flattery,’ she said, ‘which I would not listen to for a moment if it were not sweeter to listen to than anything else in the world. You don’t suppose I believe that; but so long as you do—’ Her hands unloosed and melted into his again, and he resumed the pressure which became almost painful, so close it was and earnest. ‘Dear,’ he said, with his voice trembling, ‘you must not think I mean that only. That would be so were I a better man. I mean that I am not worthy to touch your dear hand or the hem of your garment. Oh, listen: I have not been a good man, Grace.’

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