“Mr. Pandolfini,” said Mrs. Norton, not without dignity—“you are a good man, and a man of honour. This is why I have not hesitated to do what might otherwise seem imprudent, and commit my best treasure to you.”

She could not have made a more appropriate speech, or one that was better timed. “I pray God,” he said, gravely, “that this best treasure may not find you imprudent, nor that you have done what you will regret.” And he took Sophy’s hand and kissed it. The seriousness of his face did not relax, neither did his paleness warm with any gleam of colour as he did so. Sophy blushed in a rosy warmth of happiness. She was surprised, indeed, that he should let her hand go so easily. Not so do the lovers in books, of whom the girl had 카지노사이트 heard and read. And there was a pause, in which none of the three knew exactly what to do or to say.

“Have you dined?” said Mrs. Norton, to make a way of escape for herself; for, of course, what he wanted was to get rid of her, she felt sure. What so natural? “You know we dine early; but I was just going to order tea. As you are going to have an English wife,” she added, with a laugh which jarred dreadfully with the portentous gravity of his aspect, “you must learn to like such an English meal as tea;” and{232} pleased with this little speech, which she felt to be both graceful and appropriate, the good little woman hurried towards the door.

“Nay,” cried Pandolfini, hurriedly stopping her. “I have only come in a great hurry to—to thank you for a confidence so generous. I have not sufficient of time to stay. It is to my regret, my great regret. But I could not let the evening pass without saying how I thank you. What I feel—what—gratitude—what devotion! The evening must not pass without this.”

“But cannot you stay with us?” said Mrs. Norton.

“And oh! can’t you come this evening as usual?—it is one of Diana’s nights,” cried Sophy, with countenance aghast.