'I can only ask you,' she replied, 'to try and make life less of a burden to us.'
'I shall have to leave town to-morrow for a few days; no doubt it will be some satisfaction to you to hear that.'
Marian's eyes turned involuntarily towards the telegram.
'As for your occupation in my absence,' he went on, in a hard tone which yet had something tremulous, emotional, making it quite different from the voice he had hitherto used, 'that will be entirely a matter for your own judgment. I have felt for some time that you assisted me with less good-will than formerly, and now that you have frankly admitted it, I shall of course have very little satisfaction in requesting your aid. I must leave it to you; consult your own inclination.'
It was resentful, but not savage; between the beginning and the end of his speech he softened to a sort of self-satisfied pathos.
'I can't pretend,' replied Marian, 'that I have as much pleasure in the work as I should have if your mood were gentler.'
'I am sorry. I might perhaps have made greater efforts to appear at ease when I was suffering.'
'Do you mean physical suffering?'
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