Page:Oliver Twist (1838) vol. 2.djvu/292

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Oliver Twist.

have turned to high and noble pursuits again—to pursuits well worthy of you."

"There is no pursuit more worthy of me—more worthy of the highest nature that exists—than the struggle to win such a heart as yours," said the young man taking her hand. "Rose, my own dear Rose, for years—for years I have loved you, hoping to win my way to fame, and then come proudly home and tell you it had been sought, only for you to share; thinking in my day-dreams how I would remind you in that happy moment of the many silent tokens I had given of a boy's attachment, and rally you who had blushed to mark them, and then claim your hand, as if in redemption of some old mute contract that had been sealed between us. That time has not arrived; but here, with no fame won and no young vision realized, I give to you the heart so long your own, and stake my all upon the words with which you greet the offer."

"Your behaviour has ever been kind and noble," said Rose, mastering the emotions by which she was agitated. "As you believe that