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22. CHAPTER XXII: PASSIONATE PLEADING (continued)
But he could not continue to stand there motionless, all but speechless, while she lay with her face turned away from him. He must at any rate in some manner take himself away out of the room; and this he could not do, even in his present condition of unlimited disgrace, without a word of farewell. 'Perhaps I had better go and leave you,' he said.
Then at last there came a voice, 'Oh, Will, why have you done this? Why have you treated me so badly?' When he had last seen her face her mouth had been full of scorn, but, there was, no scorn now in her voice. 'Why why why?'
Why indeed except that it was needful for him that she should know the depth of his passion. 'If you will forgive me, Clara, I will not offend you so again,' he said.
'You have offended me. What am I to say? What am I to do? I have no other friend.'
'I am a wretch. I know that I am a wretch.'
'I did not suspect that you would be so cruel. Oh, Will!'
But before he went she told him that she had forgiven him, and she had preached to him a solemn, sweet sermon on the wickedness of yielding, to momentary impulses. Her low, grave words sank into his ears as though they were divine; and when she said a word to him, blushing as she spoke, of the sin of his passion and of what her sin would be, if she were to permit it, he sat by her weeping like an infant, tears which were certainly tears of innocence. She had been very angry with him; but I think she loved him better when, her sermon was finished than she had ever loved him before.
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