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|The Europeans||Henry James|
|Page 9 of 9||
"How can I--why should I?" he asked.
"I have made you no promise--given you no pledge," she said, looking at him, with her voice trembling a little.
"You have let me feel that I have an influence over you. You have opened your mind to me."
"I never opened my mind to you, Mr. Brand!" Gertrude cried, with some vehemence.
"Then you were not so frank as I thought--as we all thought."
"I don't see what any one else had to do with it!" cried the girl.
"I mean your father and your sister. You know it makes them happy to think you will listen to me."
She gave a little laugh. "It does n't make them happy," she said. "Nothing makes them happy. No one is happy here."
"I think your cousin is very happy--Mr. Young," rejoined Mr. Brand, in a soft, almost timid tone.
"So much the better for him!" And Gertrude gave her little laugh again.
The young man looked at her a moment. "You are very much changed," he said.
"I am glad to hear it," Gertrude declared.
"I am not. I have known you a long time, and I have loved you as you were."
"I am much obliged to you," said Gertrude. "I must be going home. "
He on his side, gave a little laugh.
"You certainly do avoid me--you see!"
"Avoid me, then," said the girl.
He looked at her again; and then, very gently, "No I will not avoid you," he replied; "but I will leave you, for the present, to yourself. I think you will remember--after a while--some of the things you have forgotten. I think you will come back to me; I have great faith in that."
This time his voice was very touching; there was a strong, reproachful force in what he said, and Gertrude could answer nothing. He turned away and stood there, leaning his elbows on the gate and looking at the beautiful sunset. Gertrude left him and took her way home again; but when she reached the middle of the next field she suddenly burst into tears. Her tears seemed to her to have been a long time gathering, and for some moments it was a kind of glee to shed them. But they presently passed away. There was something a little hard about Gertrude; and she never wept again.
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