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Adventure Jack London

A Man-Talk

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She made a moue of distaste and raised a hand protestingly.

"Don't," he said. "You have no right to recoil from the mention of my love for you. Remember this is a man-talk. From the point of view of the talk, you are a man. The woman in you is only incidental, accidental, and irrelevant. You've got to listen to the bald statement of fact, strange though it is, that I love you."

"And now I won't bother you any more about love. We'll go on the same as before. You are better off and safer on Berande, in spite of the fact that I love you, than anywhere else in the Solomons. But I want you, as a final item of man-talk, to remember, from time to time, that I love you, and that it will be the dearest day of my life when you consent to marry me. I want you to think of it sometimes. You can't help but think of it sometimes. And now we won't talk about it any more. As between men, there's my hand."

He held out his hand. She hesitated, then gripped it heartily, and smiled through her tears.

"I wish--" she faltered, "I wish, instead of that black Mary, you'd given me somebody to swear for me."

And with this enigmatic utterance she turned away.

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