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- In the Year of Jubilee - 87/87 -

'In one or two respects, perhaps. But leave me out of the question. You have an income of your own to dispose of; nothing oppressively splendid, I suppose. What do you think of doing?'

'What do you advise?'

'No, no. Make your own suggestion.

Nancy smiled, hesitated, and said at length:

'I think we ought to take a house.'

'In London?'

'That's as you wish.'

'Not at all. As _you_ wish. Do you want society?'

'In moderation. And first of all, yours.

Tarrant met her eyes.

'Of my society, you have quite as much as is good for you,' he answered amiably. 'That you should wish for acquaintances, is reasonable enough. Take a house somewhere in the western suburbs. One or two men I know have decent wives, and you shall meet them.'

'But you? You won't live with me?'

'You know my view of that matter.'

Nancy kept her eyes down, and reflected.

'Will it be known to everybody that we don't live together?'

'Well,' answered Tarrant, with a laugh, 'by way of example, I should rather like it to be known; but as I know _you_ wouldn't like it, let the appearances be as ordinary as you please.'

Again Nancy reflected. She had a struggle with herself.

'Just one question,' she said at length. 'Look me in the face. Are you--ever so little--ashamed of me?'

He regarded her steadily, smiling.

'Not in the least.'

'You were--you used to be?'

'Before I knew you; and before I knew myself. When, in fact, _you_ were a notable young lady of Camberwell, and _I_--'

He paused to puff at his pipe.

'And you?'

'A notable young fool of nowhere at all.'

In the Year of Jubilee - 87/87

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