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18. CHAPTER XVIII (continued)
She would come to no decision yet. "oh, sir, this is so sudden"-- that prudish phrase exactly expressed her when her time came. Premonitions are not preparation. She must examine more closely her own nature and his; she must talk it over judicially with Helen. It had been a strange love-scene--the central radiance unacknowledged from first to last. She, in his place, would have said Ich liebe dich, but perhaps it was not his habit to open the heart. He might have done it if she had pressed him--as a matter of duty, perhaps; England expects every man to open his heart once; but the effort would have jarred him, and never, if she could avoid it, should he lose those defences that he had chosen to raise against the world. He must never be bothered with emotional talk, or with a display of sympathy. He was an elderly man now, and it would be futile and impudent to correct him.
Mrs. Wilcox strayed in and out, ever a welcome ghost; surveying the scene, thought Margaret, without one hint of bitterness.
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