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28. CHAPTER XXVIII: MISS AMEDROZ IS PURSUED (continued)
'But you need not enter it.' Now, in his emergency he was willing to give up anything everything. He had been prepared to talk her over into a reconciliation with his mother, to admit that there had been faults on both sides, to come down from his high pedestal and discuss the matter as though Clara and his mother stood upon the same footing. Having recognized the spirit of his lady-love, he had told himself that so much indignity as that must be endured. But now, he had been carried so far beyond this, that he was willing, in the sudden vehemence of his love, to throw his mother over altogether, and to accede to any terms which Clara might propose to him. 'Of course, I would wish you to be friends,' he said, using now all the tones of a suppliant; 'but if you found that it could not be so'
'Do you think that I would divide you from your mother?'
'There need be no question as to that.'
'Ah there you are wrong. There must be such questions. I should have thought of it sooner.'
'Clara, you are more to me than my mother. Ten times more.' As he said this he came up and knelt down beside her. 'You are everything to me. You will not throw me over.' He was a suppliant indeed, and such supplications are very potent with women. Men succeed often by the simple earnestness of their prayers. Women cannot refuse to give that which is asked for with so much of the vehemence of true desire. 'Clara, you have promised to be my wife. You have twice promised; and can have no right to go back because you are displeased with what my mother may have said. I am not responsible for my mother. Clara, say that you will be my wife.' As he spoke he strove to take her hand, and his voice sounded as though there were in truth something of passion in his heart.
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