"You know his virtues well," said I, "but few can know the greatness of his character as I know it. All its highest and best qualities have been revealed to me in nothing more brightly than in the shaping out of that future in which I am so happy. And if your highest homage and respect had not been his already — which I know they are — they would have been his, I think, on this assurance and in the feeling it would have awakened in you towards him for my sake."
He fervently replied that indeed indeed they would have been. I gave him my hand again.
"Good night," I said, "Good-bye."
"The first until we meet to-morrow, the second as a farewell to this theme between us for ever."
"Good night; good-bye."
He left me, and I stood at the dark window watching the street. His love, in all its constancy and generosity, had come so suddenly upon me that he had not left me a minute when my fortitude gave way again and the street was blotted out by my rushing tears.
But they were not tears of regret and sorrow. No. He had called me the beloved of his life and had said I would be evermore as dear to him as I was then, and I felt as if my heart would not hold the triumph of having heard those words. My first wild thought had died away. It was not too late to hear them, for it was not too late to be animated by them to be good, true, grateful, and contented. How easy my path, how much easier than his!