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"I am not quite assured," she began, after waiting for me to speak,—as if I could, with the tongue in such a turbulence of eyes and heart!—"it is beyond my knowledge of English society, Mr. Cran-lee, to be confident that I am taking the correct step, in advancing in this manner to declare to you the things that have come into my thoughts. But if I have done wrong, you will pardon me, I hope, because I am so anxious about very dismal things."
"I assure you," I answered, with a flourish of my hat which I had been practising upon the road, "that it is of the very best English society. If we dared, we should insist upon it upon every occasion, Mademoiselle."
"You must not call me that, sir. I am not of the French. I prefer the English nation very greatly. There has only been one name given to me by my father, and that is Dariel."
"It is the sweetest name in all the world. Oh, Dariel, am I to call you Dariel?"
"If it is agreeable to you, Mr. Cran-lee, it will be also agreeable to me; for why should you not pronounce me the same as Stepan does, and Allai?"—oh, that was a cruel fall for me. "Although I have passed most of my life in England, and some of it even in London, I have not departed from the customs of my country, which are simple, very simple. See here is Kuban and Orla too! Will you not make reply to them?"
How could I make reply to dogs, with Dariel's eyes upon me? Many fellows would have been glad to kick Kuban and his son Orla, to teach them better than to jump around emotions so far above them. But not I, or at any rate not for more than half a moment; so sweetly was my spirit raised, that I never lifted either foot. Some of Dariel's gentle nature came to strike the balance; for I may have been a little short of that.
"Good dogs, noble dogs, what a pattern to us!" I had a very choice pair of trousers on, worthy of Tom Erricker,—if his had been ever bashful,—and in another minute there scarcely would have been enough of them left to plough in.
But the joy of my heart—as I was beginning already to myself to call her—perceived at a glance the right thing to do; and her smile and blush played into one another, as the rising sun colours the veil he weaves.