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expressed my sympathy for the cripple, I drew her inside the house, shut the door, and took a chair beside her.

“‘Now tell me the whole story—not your suffering, nor his—I see that in your faces—but how it could all happen. The last time you talked to me we were girls together—we are girls now.’

“‘Madame la marquise,’ she began, ‘I——

“‘No, not madame la marquise,’ I interrupted, taking her hand in mine; ‘just one woman talking to another. Whose fault was it—yours or Henri’s?’

“‘Neither. They lied about him; they said he would never come back; then, when he did not write and no news came of him and I was wild and crazy with grief, they told me more things of which I won’t speak; and one of the old women in the village, who wanted him for her granddaughter, laughed and said the things were true and that she didn’t mind, and nobody else should; and then all the time my father was saying I must marry the other’—and she pointed in the direction of the cripple—‘and he kept coming every day, and was kind and sympathetic, and good to me I must say, and is now, and at last my heart was worn