262 'AIRY FAIRY LILIAN.'
pain, partly through nervousness, and a good deal of
self-torturing thought, long suppressed, and hides her
face childishly against his sleeve because she has no¬
where else to hide it. ' Lay me down,' she says, faintly.
There is a lounging-chafr—close to the fire that
always burns brightly in the long gallery; placing her
in it, he stands a little aloof cursing his own ill-luck,
and wondering what he has done to make her hate him
so bitterly. Her tears madden him. Every fresh sob
tears his heart. At last, unable to bear the mental
agony any longer, he kneels dovm beside her, and with
an aspect of the deepest respect takes one of her hands
' I am very unfortunate,' he says, humbly. ' Is it
hurting you very much ?'
' It is better now,' she whispers; but for all that she
sobs on very successfully behind her handkerchief.
' You are not the oiUy one in pain;'—speaking
gently but earnestly—' every sob of yours causes me
absolute torture.' This speech has no effect except to
make her cry again harder than ever. It is so sweet to
a woman to know a man is suffering tortures for her
A little soft lock of her hair has shaken itself loose,
and has wandered across her forehead. Almost uncon¬
sciously, but very lovingly, he moves it back into its
' What have I done, Lilian, that you should so soon
have learned to hate me ?' he whispers ; ' we used to
be good friends.'
' So long ago'—in a stifled tone from behind the
handkerchief—' that I have almost forgotten it.'
' Not so very long. A few weeks at the utmost,—
before your cousin came.'
' Yes,'—with a sigh—' before your cousin came.'
' That is only idle recrimination. I know I once
erred deeply, but surely I have repented, and,------TeU
me why you hate me.'