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apart is his fidelity. His pen serves his country as well

2023-12-01 21:20:24 source:A Spring Dream Netauthor: data click:546Second-rate

"But you have; you said you loved me; you did not love me."

apart is his fidelity. His pen serves his country as well

"I loved you, because at a time when you were wavering between detestable principles and the impulses of a generous heart I saw that you were inclining towards justice and honesty. And I love you now, because I see that you are triumphing over these vile principles, and that your evil inspirations are followed by tears of honest regret. This I say before God, with my hand on my heart, at a time when I can see your real self. There are other times when you appear to me so below yourself that I no longer recognise you and I think I no longer love you. It rests with you, Bernard, to free me from all doubts, either about you or myself."

apart is his fidelity. His pen serves his country as well

"You must amend your bad habits, open your ears to good counsel and your heart to the precepts of morality. You are a savage, Bernard; and, believe me, it is neither your awkwardness in making a bow, nor your inability to turn a compliment that shocks me. On the contrary, this roughness of manner would be a very great charm in my eyes, if only there were some great ideas and noble feelings beneath it. But your ideas and your feelings are like your manners, that is what I cannot endure. I know it is not your fault, and if I only saw you resolute to improve I should love you as much for your defects as for your qualities. Compassion brings affection in its train. But I do not love evil, I never loved it; and, if you cultivate it in yourself instead of uprooting it, I can never love you. Do you understand me?"

apart is his fidelity. His pen serves his country as well

"No, I say. I am not aware that there is any evil in me. If you are not displeased at the lack of grace in my legs, or the lack of whiteness in my hands, or the lack of elegance in my words, I fail to see what you find to hate in me. From my childhood I have had to listen to evil precepts, but I have not accepted them. I have never considered it permissible to do a bad deed; or, at least, I have never found it pleasurable. If I have done wrong, it is because I have been forced to do it. I have always detested my uncles and their ways. I do not like to see others suffer; I do not rob a fellow-creature; I despise money, of which they made a god at Roche-Mauprat; I know how to keep sober, and, though I am fond of wine, I would drink water all my life if, like my uncles, I had to shed blood to get a good supper. Yet I fought for them; yet I drank with them. How could I do otherwise? But now, when I am my own master, what harm am I doing? Does your abbe, who is always prating of virtue, take me for a murderer or a thief? Come, Edmee, confess now; you know well enough that I am an honest man; you do not really think me wicked; but I am displeasing to you because I am not clever, and you like M. de la Marche because he has a knack of making unmeaning speeches which I should blush to utter."

"And if, to be pleasing to me," she said with a smile, after listening most attentively, and without withdrawing her hand which I had taken through the bars, "if, in order to be preferred to M. de la Marche, it were necessary to acquire more wit, as you say, would you not try?"

"I don't know," I replied, after hesitating a moment; "perhaps I should be fool enough; for the power you have over me is more than I can understand; but it would be a sorry piece of cowardice and a great folly."

"Because a woman who could love a man, not for his honest heart, but for his pretty wit, would be hardly worth the pains I should have to take; at least so it seems to me."

She remained silent in her turn, and then said to me as she pressed my hand:

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