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23. CHAPTER XXIII (continued)
"Ich liebe dich."
His German was halting, and he looked about for the word he wanted. The pause was infinitesimal, but before he could go on Fraulein Hedwig said:
"Ach, Herr Carey, Sie mussen mir nicht du sagen--you mustn't talk to me in the second person singular."
Philip felt himself grow hot all over, for he would never have dared to do anything so familiar, and he could think of nothing on earth to say. It would be ungallant to explain that he was not making an observation, but merely mentioning the title of a song.
"Entschuldigen Sie," he said. "I beg your pardon."
"It does not matter," she whispered.
She smiled pleasantly, quietly took his hand and pressed it, then turned back into the drawing-room.
Next day he was so embarrassed that he could not speak to her, and in his shyness did all that was possible to avoid her. When he was asked to go for the usual walk he refused because, he said, he had work to do. But Fraulein Hedwig seized an opportunity to speak to him alone.
"Why are you behaving in this way?" she said kindly. "You know, I'm not angry with you for what you said last night. You can't help it if you love me. I'm flattered. But although I'm not exactly engaged to Hermann I can never love anyone else, and I look upon myself as his bride."
Philip blushed again, but he put on quite the expression of a rejected lover.
"I hope you'll be very happy," he said.
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