'That is unworthy of you. How much better to ignore your enemies!
In such a position, I should carefully avoid every word that betrayed personal feeling.'
'Well, well; you are of course right, my good girl. And I believe I should do injustice to myself if I made you think that those ignoble motives are the strongest in me. No; it isn't so. From my boyhood I have had a passionate desire of literary fame, deep down below all the surface faults of my character. The best of my life has gone by, and it drives me to despair when I feel that I have not gained the position due to me. There is only one way of doing this now, and that is by becoming the editor of an important periodical. Only in that way shall I succeed in forcing people to pay attention to my claims. Many a man goes to his grave unrecognised, just because he has never had a fair judgment. Nowadays it is the unscrupulous men of business who hold the attention of the public; they blow their trumpets so loudly that the voices of honest men have no chance of being heard.'
Marian was pained by the humility of his pleading with her--for what was all this but an endeavour to move her sympathies?--and by the necessity she was under of seeming to turn a deaf ear. She believed that there was some truth in his estimate of his own powers; though as an editor he would almost certainly fail, as a man of letters he had probably done far better work than some who had passed him by on their way to popularity. Circumstances might enable her to assist him, though not in the way he proposed. The worst of it was that she could not let him see what was in her mind. He must think that she was simply balancing her own satisfaction against his, when in truth she suffered from the conviction that to yield would be as unwise in regard to her father's future as it would be perilous to her own prospect of happiness.
'Shall we leave this to be talked of when the money has been paid over to me?' she said, after a silence.
'Yes. Don't suppose I wish to influence you by dwelling on my own hardships. That would be contemptible. I have only taken this opportunity of making myself better known to you. I don't readily talk of myself and in general my real feelings are hidden by the faults of my temper. In suggesting how you could do me a great service, and at the same time reap advantage for yourself I couldn't but remember how little reason you have to think kindly of me. But we will postpone further talk. You will think over what I have said?'
Marian promised that she would, and was glad to bring the conversation to an end.
When Sunday came, Yule inquired of his daughter if she had any engagement for the afternoon.
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