No; she could not do that. She was growing calmer now; her tears had ceased to flow, and she was walking about the room, thinking the matter out. No; even suppose--well, this proposal had not been made: it would have been impossible to move Mrs. Ashurst in her then state to Berlin, and she could not have gone without her; so that Walter must either have gone alone, or the marriage must have been deferred. And then the income--four hundred a year. It was very good, no doubt, in comparison to what they had been existing on since papa's death--very superior to anything they could have expected, quite a sufficiency for one or two young people to begin life upon; but for three, and the third one an invalid, in a foreign country? No; it was quite impossible. Marian looked round the room as she said these words; her eyes lighted on the bright furniture, the pretty prints that adorned the walls, the elegant ornaments and nick-nacks scattered about, the hundred evidences of wealth and taste which were henceforth to be at her entire command, and repeated, "Quite impossible!" more decisively than before. By this time she was quite herself again, had removed every trace of her recent discomposure, and had made up her mind definitively as to her future. Only one thing troubled her,--what should be her immediate treatment of Walter Joyce? Should she ignore the receipt of his letter, leave it unanswered, take the chance of his understanding from her silence that all was over between them? Or should she write to him, telling him exactly what had happened--putting it, of course, in the least objectionable way for herself? Or should she temporise, giving her mother's delicate state of health and impossibility of removal abroad as the ground of her declining to be married at once, as he required, and beginning by various hints, which she thought she could manage cleverly enough, to pave the way for the announcement, to be delayed as long as practicable, that their engagement was over, and that she was going to marry some one else? At first she was strongly inclined to act upon the last of these three motives, thinking that it would be easier to screen herself, or at all events to bear the brunt of Joyce's anger when he was abroad. But after a little consideration, a better spirit came over her. She had to do what was a bad thing at best; she would do it in the least offensive manner possible,--she would write to him.
"Jane! Jane! come at once. I want to give Mrs. Thorburn a hypoderm of brandy."
"No place, Mr. Creach, can be for friendship between us, and as for congratulations, they are not only out of place but insulting from you," I said, quietly, and in a low voice, so no one might overhear.
In peace beneath the peaceful skies.
I tuk out the letter and handed it to her widout further words. She red it throo widout spaking, but I seen her mouth and eyes popping wid exsitemint.
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