How To Cook Husbands (Chapter 9, page 2 of 5)

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Chapter 9

Still I sat and dreamed, and even the ringing of my door-bell failed to rouse me: but when I heard the maid say to someone: "She has been downstairs to-night, but I think she has gone up now, and I don't like to call her."

I started forward, saying quickly: "No, I am here--I will see any one."

And so he came in, but it was not the one I expected. It was Mr. Gregory.

I think that he found my embarrassment on greeting him both gratifying and encouraging, but its cause was alien to his thought. I was brought back from another world, as it were, with a rude shock, and in my enfeebled condition, consequent upon a severe illness could not control myself. Indeed I did not feel that I was mistress of myself at any time during the evening.

After a word or two, which I cannot recall, I stammered out: "I was not expecting you this evening--I had not sent for you."

"I know that you have not," he answered--then dropping his voice a trifle, he added, "I could not wait any longer--I found it difficult to wait so long as this. I hardly dared hope that I might see you this evening, but I felt I must try."

Intent upon sparing him the pain of a spoken declaration, I exclaimed: "Oh, Mr. Gregory, don't! please don't say anything more. I am not deserving of your esteem and kindness."

He came nearer me, and his voice was at once tender and reverent, as he said: "You are more than worthy of what I have to offer, which is myself, and all that I have."

"Don't!" I cried again; "don't say anything more! Let us imagine this unsaid!"

"Such words can never be recalled," he said gravely.

"They must be," I persisted; "I cannot accept! I have nothing to give in return!"

A look of disappointment came over his face, and if I mistake not, it was shaded with displeasure. "I hardly expected this, Miss Leigh, I have hardly been led to expect this."

"I know what you mean, Mr. Gregory," I replied, more calmly than I had spoken before; "I know that I have accepted your attentions--you have had every reason to expect a different answer. I'll not try to deceive you, or keep anything from you. I'll tell you that I have not been trifling. I have understood you for some time----"

He interrupted me here.

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