'AIRY FAIRY LILIAN.' 263
* I cannot.'
' Because I don't know myself.'
' What! you confess you hate me without cause ?'
' That is not it.'
' How can I tell you,' she says impatiently,' when I
know I don't hate you at all ? '
' Lilian, is that true ?'—taking away the handker¬
chief gently but forcibly that he may see her face, which
after aU is not nearly so tear-stained as it should be,
considering all the heart-rending sobs to which he has
been listening. ' Are you sure ? am I not really dis¬
tasteful to you ? Perhaps even'—with an accession of
hope, seeing she does not turn from him—' you like me
a little, still ?'
' When you are good'— with an airy laugh and a
slight pout—' I do a little. Yes'—seeing him glance
longingly at her hand—' you may kiss it, and then we
shall be friends again, for to-night at least. Now do
take me down, Sfr Guy; if we stay here much longer
I shall be seeing bogies in all the corners. Already
your ancestors seem to be frowning at me, and a more
dark and bloodthirsty set of relatives I never saw. I
hope you won't turn out as bad to look at in your old
' It all depends. When we are happy we are gene¬
rally virtuous. Misery creates vice.'
' What a sententious speech!' He has taken up
his fair burden again, and they are now (very slowly, I
must say) descending the stairs. < Now here comes a
curve,' she says, with a return of all her old sauciness,
'please do not drop me.'
' I have half a mind to,'—laughing. < Suppose,
now, I let you fall cleverly over these banisters on to
the stone flooring beneath, I should save myself from
many a flout and many a scornful speech, and rid my¬
self for ever of a troublesome little ward.'