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ous in your defence of Miss Treville last even
“Because, father, I thought the censures that were passed upon her were unjust."
But, Amy, I can assure you that the most respectable part of the company thought otherwise."
“I only expressed my own opinion, you know, father; and I thought it right to do so, especially as she was not there to defend herself. But, father, you know all the circumstances of that affair, and know how blameless she was: did not you think she did right?”
“May be so, and may be not; the wisest and best condemn her, and that's enough to make me distrust my own opinion, or at least refrain from expressing it. I do not pretend to be so much wiser than the rest of the world."
Amy felt that this was an unfavorable moment for her confession ; but she bravely began.
“I have come, my dear father, to speak with you upon a subject of great interest -- of great importance”
Amy stopped; she could not make out a finished sentence. Who can, when they have to speak of what is more to them than life? She looked down, and then looked up into her father's face with that earnest, imploring expression that seems to say, “O, if you could read my heart !” She thought of her mother, to whom she could have spoken with so much ease, so much trust: her eyes
filled with tears. “What is it you would say, my dear child ? ” said her father, tenderly.
Amy was encouraged. She began again.
“ You have, perhaps, observed the friendship, the intimacy, the particular regard Edward Selmar and I have long had for each other."
“I do not know what you mean by particular regard, Amy. I have seen Mr. Selmar here very often; I supposed you thought well of him; he has stood very well
well in the opinion of the world, I believe.”
“He has this morning declared his love for me, father.”
Had Amy told her father that some one had threatened her life, he could not have expressed more horror and indignation than he did at this intelligence.
“ He! Amy, he, a beggar, a bankrupt, presuine to declare his love to my daughter ! he, without a cent in the world, dare to think of marrying you, who are an heiress! He is a man without principle, or he has lost his senses.”
“When he came here this morning, father, he had no intention of making such a declaration to me.”
“And how came he to do such a dishonorable thing?” exclaimed Mr. Weston, stopping for a moment his violent strides across the room, to take breath. “Did he suppose I was going to marry my daughter to a man without a dollar in his pocket? I did, I confess, think better of him once.”
“Edward has done nothing wrong, father; our attachment has existed for a long time, though we have never spoken of it. He saw in his failure a reason for separating himself from me, and relinquishing hopes which he before cherished, and which I had tacitly encouraged.”
“ And that would have been acting like a man of honor; and why has he done so shameful a thing as to speak to you upon this subject now? Why, if he is what you suppose him to be, did he not sacrifice his feelings to a sense of duty ?”
“Because he discovered that I was not willing that he should make this sacrifice.”
“ You, Amy! you not willing! This surpasses belief. You, a lady, so far set at defiance female delicacy as to say you were not willing he should make this sacrifice! did I hear right?”
“ Yes, father, I did not disguise from him that he would sacrifice my happiness as well as his own by so doing. He discovered, for I did not attempt to hide it from him, that I loved him as truly as he loved me. I confess that I saw in his failure a sufficient reason for a degree of frankness, that, but for his misfortune, I might have thought forwardness. So you see, father, if there was any one to blame, it was I.”
“Romantic nonsense,” cried her father, “absurd folly! what would the world say to it?" and he strode about the room as if he would fain run away from its fearful voice.
“I could not think of the world, father, at such a time; and I could not consent that the world should have any voice in choosing me a husband.”
“Nor that your father should either, I suppose,” said Mr. Weston, almost foaming with anger.
Forgive me, dear father,” replied Amy; “I should be a great hypocrite if I were to pretend that I could be governed by any one's authority in such a case; though it would make me very unhappy that you should disapprove of my choice.”
“I can assure you that I do entirely disapprove of your choice; and I can tell you that all the
most respectable part of the community will think very ill of Mr. Selmar, unless you tell them of your unparalleled piece of quixotism. I always thought that your ridiculous romantic notions would be your ruin ; and I cannot think it very honorable in Mr. Selmar to take advantage of your folly, and to propose marriage to you, now that he has not a cent he can call his own.'
“ He has done no such thing, father; he is coming to see you this evening, to tell you that he should never speak of marriage, till he was again able to support me."
Mr. Weston was somewhat mollified by this intelligence. Still he continued striding across the room, and manifesting great vexation. “I hate these long engagements; very tedious and disagreeable.
“But, father,” said Amy, “I shall be the longer with you; you don't want to part with me, though you do think me so silly and romantic."
“I did hope, Amy, that whenever you were married, you would form such a connection as would have gratified me; all my ambition centred in you.”
“Did you disapprove of Mr. Selmar, father, before he ed?"