the forty-nine provinces of Spain to take their ease in.，
I hesitated for a moment. A cold sweat broke out all over me. I looked her full in the face; but her eyes were inscrutable and betrayed no hint of her thoughts. If I had fancied that she really loved me and that she was putting my virtue to the test, I should perhaps have played the hero; but I was afraid of some trap. My passion overmastered me. I felt that I had not the strength to renounce my claim with a good grace; and hypocrisy was repugnant to me. I rose to my feet, trembling with rage.
"You love him!" I cried. "Confess that you love him!"
"And if I did," she answered, putting the letter in her pocket, "where would be the crime?"
"The crime would be that hitherto you have lied in telling me that you did not love him."
"Hitherto is saying a good deal," she rejoined, looking at me fixedly; "we have not discussed the matter since last year. At that time it was possible that I did not love Adhemar very much, and at present it might be possible that I loved him more than you. If I compare the conduct of both to-day I see on the one hand a man without proper pride and without delicacy, presuming upon a promise which my heart perhaps has never ratified; on the other I see an admirable friend whose sublime devotion is ready to brave all prejudices; who-- believing that I bear the smirch of an indelible shame--is none the less prepared to cover the blot with his protection."
"What! this wretch believes that I have done violence to you, and yet does not challenge me to a duel?"
"That is not what he believes, Bernard. He knows that you rescued me from Roche-Mauprat; but he thinks that you helped me too late, and that I was the victim of the other brigands."
"And he wants to marry you, Edmee? Either the man's devotion is sublime, as you say, or he is deeper in debt than you think."
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