Page:Oliver Twist (1838) vol. 2.djvu/293

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Oliver Twist.

I am not insensible or ungrateful, so hear my answer."

"It is that I may endeavour to deserve you—is it, dear Rose?"

"It is," replied Rose, "that you must endeavour to forget me—not as your old and dearly-attached companion, for that would wound me deeply, but as the object of your love. Look into the world, think how many hearts you would be equally proud to gain are there. Confide some other passion to me if you will, and I will be the truest, warmest, most faithful friend you have."

There was a pause, during which Rose, who had covered her face with one hand, gave free vent to her tears. Harry still retained the other. "And your reasons, Rose," he said at length in a low voice, "your reasons for this decision—may I ask them?"

"You have a right to know them," rejoined Rose. "You can say nothing to alter my resolution. It is a duty that I must perform. I owe it alike to others, and to myself."

"To yourself?"