At the end of the lawn there was a bank crowned with willows, at whose roots purple loosestrife and rosy willow-herb were growing. He could see these things dimly as he looked out before him. Under one of the willows was a rustic seat, where the girls often clustered in the evening. Tom sat down upon it and gave himself up to the dreams that were crowding upon him. Dreams! Dreams! In a misty radiance of lovely shapes they swept by him. What a fool he had been! It was the beauty of nature; it was love that binds young lives together; it was passion, whose feet were on earth, and whose soul was in heaven which was the reality. These other things?reason, philosophy, maxims of prudence?they were an illusion?webs that the dull of heart weave to hide their own dullness from themselves. And, after all, why should a man think; why should a man be serious when happiness such as this?this! was opening out before him?

He got up and walked on for a few steps. His feet were unsteady, and, with a smile of self-ridicule, he sat down again. He spread out his arms with a low cry. 'Grace!' he murmured. 'Grace! do you know that I love you?'

He paused. The faint, sweet kiss of the pale-petaled rose was lingering about his lips. He was remembering how, two days ago, only two, when he and she were together here?here at this very spot, he had longed to speak but dared not. That rose was in her girdle. His lips had been open to ask for it. Something had sealed them. He was too young?too insignificant?his fortunes were too uncertain. For her sweet sake he had held himself in check.

Now?ah! everything had changed. He was no longer insignificant?he was the heir of a man of wealth and distinction?his fortunes were certain?he could make a future for the woman he loved. If, as he had imagined, dreamed??

But he could go no further. He flung himself on the grass. His lips were towards the earth, and it was as if he was speaking to it?telling it the secret ecstasy that he had not breathed to any living soul. 'I could not speak then, but I can now. This wealth has freed my hand. They will listen to me?they must! And she! Oh, Grace! oh, my darling! Come to me and I will make the earth a Paradise to you! Others do not know what love means. They promise and they forget. I never will. My love! my beautiful love! Come to me, and let me care for you. I will, I will. Care for you as never woman was cared for before. Your lightest wish shall be my law. Your very imaginations and dreams shall come to pass. You and I, Grace, you and I?our two lives shall flow on together, loving and beloved, until? ???? ?'