town park. We found a rustic seat in our retirement, set up (one would suppose) as a concession to the taste of visitors who are fond of solitude. The view in front of us was bounded by the park walls and railings; and our seat was prettily approached on one side by a plantation of young trees. No entrance gate was near; no carriage road crossed the grass. A more safe and more solitary nook for conversation between two persons desiring to be alone, it would be hard to find in most public parks. Lovers are said to know it well, and to be especially fond of it toward evening. We were there in broad daylight, and we had the seat to ourselves.
My memory of what passed between us is, in some degree, disturbed by the formidable interruption which brought our talk to an end.
But among other things I remember that I showed him no mercy at the outset. At one time I was indignant; at another I was scornful. I declared, in regard to my object in meeting him, that I had changed my mind, and had decided to shorten a disagreeable interview by waiving my right to an explanation, and bidding him farewell. Eunice, as I pointed out, had the first claim to him; Eunice was much more likely to suit him, as a companion for life, than I was. "In short," I said, in conclusion, "my inclination for once takes sides with my duty, and leaves my sister in undisturbed possession of young Mr. Dunboyne." With this satirical explanation, I rose to say good-by.
I had merely intended to irritate him. He showed a superiority to anger for which I was not prepared.
" Be so kind as to sit down again," he said, quietly.
He took my letter from his pocket and pointed to that part of it which alluded to his conduct, when we had met in my father's study.
"You have offered me the opportunity of saying a word in my own defence," he went on. "I prize that privilege far too highly to consent to your withdrawing it, merely because you have changed your mind. Let me at least tell you what my errand was, when I called on your father. Loving you and you only, I had forced myself to make a last effort to be true to your sister. Remember that, Helena, and then say--is it wonderful if I was beside myself when I found you in the study?"
"When you tell me you were beside yourself," I said, "do you mean ashamed of yourself?"