and trammels of our complicated and stifling civilization,
"So much for servants," I whispered to myself.
"The next morning," continued she, "they put the case very plainly before me. I was at liberty to return at once to my home if I would promise to work in their interest by making certain demands upon you as your wife. All they wanted, said they, was a snug little sum and a lift out of the country. If I would secure them these, they would trouble me no more. But I could not concede to anything of that nature, of course, and the consequence was these long weeks of imprisonment and suspense; weeks that I do not now begrudge, seeing they have brought me the assurance of your esteem and the knowledge, that wherever I go, your thoughts will follow me with compassion if not with love."
And having told her story and thus answered his demands, she assumed once more the position of lofty reserve that seemed to shut him back from advance like a wall of invincible crystal.
But he was not to be discouraged. "And after all this, after all you have suffered for my sake and your own, do you think you have a right to deny me the one desire of my heart? How can you reconcile it with your ideas of devotion, Luttra?"
"My ideas of devotion look beyond the present, Mr. Blake. It is to save you from years of wearing anxiety that I consent to the infliction upon you of a passing pang."
He took a bold step forward. "Luttra, you do not know a man's heart. To lose you now would not merely inflict a passing pang, but sow the seeds of a grief that would go with me to the grave.
"Do you then"--she began, but paused blushing. Mrs. Daniels took the opportunity to approach her on the other side.
"My dear mistress," said she, "you are wrong to hold out in this matter." And her manner betrayed something of the peculiar agitation that had belonged to it in the former times of her secret embarassment. "I, who have honored the family which I have so long served, above every other in the land, tell you that you can do it no greater good than to join it now, or inflict upon it any greater harm than to wilfully withdraw yourself from the position in which God has placed you."
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