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which certainly had been rather taken away by this entirely new
and by no means agreeable scheme.
"Mother suggested it I shouldn't have dared even to dream of such
richness. I'd made up my mind to go alone, and when I told her,
she was in despair till this superb idea came into her head. After
that, of course, it was easy enough for me to stick to the resolution
"Why did you decide to go, Charlie?" And Rose looked up into the
eyes that were fixed beseechingly on hers.
They wavered and glanced aside, then met hers honestly yet full of
humility, which made her own fall as he answered very low:
"Because I don't dare to stay."
"Is it so hard?" she said pitifully.
"Very hard. I haven't the moral courage to own up and face
ridicule, and it seems so mean to hide for fear of breaking my
word. I will keep it this time, Rose, if I go to the ends of the earth
to do it."
"It is not cowardly to flee temptation, and nobody whose opinion is
worth having will ridicule any brave attempt to conquer one's self.
Don't mind it, Charlie, but stand fast, and I am sure you will
"You don't know what it is, and I can't tell you, for till I tried to
give it up I never guessed what a grip it had on me. I thought it was
only a habit, easy to drop when I liked, but it is stronger than I, and
sometimes I feel as if possessed of a devil that will get the better
of me, try as I may."
He dropped her hands abruptly as he said that, with the energy of
despair; and, as if afraid of saying too much, he left her for a
minute, striking away at full speed, as if in truth he would "go to
the ends of the earth" to escape the enemy within himself.
Rose stood still, appalled by this sudden knowledge of how much
greater the evil was than she had dreamed. What ought she to do?
Go with her cousin, and by so doing tacitly pledge herself as his
companion on that longer journey for which he was as yet so
poorly equipped? Both heart and conscience protested against this
so strongly that she put the thought away. But compassion pleaded
for him tenderly, and the spirit of self-sacrifice, which makes
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