"Would it have been quite fair," he rejoined, "to allow you to deceive yourself? Should I deserve to be taken into your confidence, if I encouraged you to trust me, under false pretenses? Not a word more of those hopes on which the happiness of my life depends shall pass my lips, unless you permit it. In my devotion to your interests, I promise to forget myself. My motives may be misinterpreted; my position may be misunderstood. Ignorant people may take me for that other happier man, who is an object of interest to you--"
"Stop, Mr. Mirabel! The person to whom you refer has no such claim on me as you suppose."
"Dare I say how happy I am to hear it? Will you forgive me?"
"I will forgive you if you say no more."
Their eyes met. Completely overcome by the new hope that she had inspired, Mirabel was unable to answer her. His sensitive nerves trembled under emotion, like the nerves of a woman; his delicate complexion faded away slowly into whiteness. Emily was alarmed--he seemed to be on the point of fainting. She ran to the window to open it more widely.
"Pray don't trouble yourself," he said, "I am easily agitated by any sudden sensation--and I am a little overcome at this moment by my own happiness."
"Let me give you a glass of wine."
"Thank you--I don't need it indeed."