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Ger. The coffee will do well enough. (Exit Col. G.)—Is she so beautiful ? (turning to the Psyche)—Is there a likeness ?-I see it.Nonsense! A mere chance confluence of the ideal and the actual.—Even then the chance must mean something. Such a mere chance would indeed be a strange one !
Enter CONSTANCE. Oh, my heart! here she comes ! my Psyche herself !—Well, Constance !
Con. Oh, Arthur, I am so glad I've found you! I want to talk to you about something. I know you don't care much about me now, but I must tell you, for it would be wrong not.
Ger. (aside). How beautiful she is! What can she have to tell me about? It cannot be --it shall not be — Sit down, won't you ? (offering her a chair.)
Con. No. You sit there (pointing to the dais), and I will sit here (placing herself on
the lower step). It was here I used to sit so often when I was a little girl. Why can't one keep little ? I was always with you then! (Sighs.)
Ger. It is not my fault, Constance.
Con. Oh no! I suppose it can't be. Only I don't see why. Oh, Arthur, where should I be but for you! I saw the old place yesterday. How dreadful and yet how dear it was!
Ger. Who took
Ger. It was hardly safe.—I don't like your going out alone, Constance.
Con. Why, Arthur! I used to know every court and alley about Shoreditch better than I know Berkeley Square now! Ger. But what made you go
there? Con. I went to find a dressmaker who has been working for my aunt, and lost my way. And-would you believe it?
I was actually frightened!
Ger. No wonder! There are rough people about there.
Con. I never used to think them rough when I lived among them with my father and mother. There must be just as good people there as anywhere else. Yet I could not help shuddering at the thought of living there again !-How strange it made me feel ! You have been my angel, Arthur. What would have become of me if you hadn't taken me, I dare not think.
Ger. I have had my reward, Constance ; you are happy.
Con. Not quite. There's something I want to tell you.
Ger. Tell on, child.'
Con. Oh, thank you !—that is how you used to talk to me. (Hesitates.)
Ger. (with foreboding) Well, what is it?
Con: (pulling the fingers of her gloves) A gentleman--you know him-has been-calling upon aunt—and me. We have seen a good deal of him.
Ger. Who is he?
Con. Mr. Waterfield. (Keeps her eyes on the floor.)
Ger. Well ?
Con. He says-he-he-he wants me to marry him.-Aunt likes him.
Ger. And you ?
Con. I like him too. I don't think I like him enough–I dare say I shall. It is so good of him to take poor me! He is very rich, they say
Ger. Have you accepted him ?
Con. I am afraid he thinks so.—Ye-e-s. --I hardly know.
Ger. Haven't you-been rather-in a hurry-Constance ?
Con. No, indeed! I haven't been in a hurry at all.
He has been a long time trying to make me like him. I have been too long a burden to Mrs. Clifford.
Ger. So! it is her doing, then!
Ger. (bitterly) Yes; too far-chipping stones and making mud-pies !
Con. I don't know what you mean by that, Arthur.
Ger. Oh--nothing. I mean that-thatOf course if you are engaged to him, then
Con. I'm afraid I've done very wrong, Arthur. If I had thought you would care ! I knew aunt would be pleased !-she wanted me to have him, I knew.-I ought to do what I can to please her,-ought I not? I have no right to--
Ger. Surely, surely. Yes, yes; I understand. It was not your fault. Only you mustn't marry him, if
you-for telling me.
Con. I ought to have told you beforebefore I let him speak to me again. But I didn't think
would care—not much. Ger. Yes, yes.
Con. (looking up with anxiety) Ah! you are vexed with me, Arthur! I see how wrong