science and religion, but science and the arts. “The，
Then she added, after a fresh pause, and in a still severe tone:
"But if, father, you believe that you are on the brink of the grave, what sort of heart do you suppose I can have, that you bid me think only of myself, and put on my wedding-dress in the hour of mourning for you? If, on the contrary, you are, as I believe, still full of vigour, in spite of your sufferings, and destined to enjoy the love of your family for many a long year yet, why do you urge me so imperiously to cut short the time I have requested? Is not the question important enough to demand my most serious reflection? A contract which is to bind me for the rest of my life, and on which depends, I do not say my happiness, for that I would gladly sacrifice to your least wish, but the peace of my conscience and the dignity of my conduct (since no woman can be sufficiently sure of herself to answer for a future which has been fettered against her will), does not such a contract bid me weigh all its risks and all its advantages for several years at least?"
"Good God!" said the chevalier. "Have you not been weighing all this for the last seven years? You ought to have arrived at some conclusion about your cousin by now. If you are willing to marry him, marry him; but if not, for God's sake say so, and let another man come forward."
"Father," replied Edmee, somewhat coldly, "I shall marry none but him."
" 'None but him' is all very well," said the chevalier, tapping the logs with the tongs; "but that does not necessarily mean that you will marry him."
"Yes, I will marry him, father," answered Edmee. "I could have wished to be free a few months more; but since you are displeased at all these delays, I am ready to obey your orders, as you know."
"Parbleu! that is a pretty way of consenting," exclaimed my uncle, "and no doubt most gratifying to your cousin! By Jove! Bernard, I have lived many years in this world, but I must own that I can't understand these women yet, and it is very probable that I shall die without ever having understood them."
"Uncle," I said, "I can quite understand my cousin's aversion for me; it is only what I deserve. I have done all I could to atone for my errors. But, is it altogether in her power to forget a past which has doubtless caused her too much pain? However, if she does not forgive me, I will imitate her severity: I will not forgive myself. Abandoning all hope in this world, I will tear myself away from her and you, and chasten myself with a punishment worse than death."
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