Her refusal, though unexpected, did not permanently daunt
Clare. His experience of women was great enough for him to be aware that the negative often meant nothing more than the preface to the affirmative; and it was little enough for him not to know that in the manner of the present negative there lay a great exception to the dallyings of coyness. That she had already permitted him to make love to her he read as an additional assurance
, not fully trowing that in the fields and pastures to 'sigh gratis' is by no means deemed waste; love-making being here more often accepted inconsiderately
and for its own sweet sake than in the carking
anxious homes of the ambitious
, where a girl's craving for an establishment
paralyzes her healthy thought of a passion as an end.
'Tess, why did you say "no" in such a positive way?' he asked her in the course of a few days.
'Don't ask me. I told you why - partly. I am not good enough not worthy enough.'
'How? Not fine lady enough?'
'Yes - something like that,' murmured she. 'Your friends would scorn
'Indeed, you mistake them - my father and mother. As for my brothers, I don't care--' He clasped his fingers behind her back to keep her from slipping away. 'Now - you did not mean it, sweet? - I am sure you did not! You have made me so restless that I cannot read, or play, or do anything. I am in no hurry, Tess, but I want to know - to hear from your own warm lips - that you will some day be mine - any time you may choose; but some day?'