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you won't, there will be no need for you to go, for I shall go and
trouble you no more. You know what I am, and all about me, and I have
nothing more to say except that, although you may find many finer
husbands, you won't find one who would love and care for you better. I
know that you are very beautiful and very rich, while I am neither one
nor the other, and often I have wished to Heaven that you were not so
beautiful, for sometimes that brings trouble on women who are honest and
only have one heart to give, or so rich either. But thus things are, and
I cannot change them, and, however poor my chance of hitting the dove, I
determined to shoot my bolt and make way for the next archer. Is there
any chance at all, Margaret? Tell me, and put me out of pain, for I am
not good at so much talking."
Now Margaret began to grow disturbed; her wayward assurance departed
"It is not fitting," she murmured, "and I do not wish--I will speak to
my father; he shall give you your answer."
"No need to trouble him, Margaret. He has given it already. His great
desire is that we should marry, for he seeks to leave this trade and to
live with us in the Vale of Dedham, in Essex, where he has bought back
my father's land."
"You are full of strange tidings this morning, Peter."
"Yes, Margaret, our wheel of life that went so slow turns fast enough
to-day, for God above has laid His whip upon the horses of our Fate,
and they begin to gallop, whither I know not. Must they run side by
side, or separate? It is for you to say."
"Peter," she said, "will you not give me a little time?"
"Aye, Margaret, ten whole minutes by the clock, and then if it is nay,
all your life, for I pack my chest and go. It will be said that I feared
to be taken for that soldier's death."
"You are unkind to press me so."
"Nay, it is kindest to both of us. Do you then love some other man?"
"I must confess I do," she murmured, looking at him out of the corners
of her eyes.
Now Peter, strong as he was, turned faint, and in his agitation let go
her hand which she lifted, the violets still between her fingers,
considering it as though it were a new thing to her.
"I have no right to ask you who he is," he muttered, striving to control
"Nay, but, Peter, I will tell you. It is my father--what other man
should I love?"
"Margaret!" he said in wrath, "you are fooling me."
"How so? What other man should I love--unless, indeed, it were
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