Friday, 2 June 2017

A Wicked Woman by Jack London 6

Bashford absent-mindedly brought out a cigarette.
"Do you mind if I smoke?" he asked, as he struck a match.
Then he came to himself.
"I beg your pardon," he cried, flinging away match and cigarette. "I don't want to smoke. I didn't mean that at all. What I mean is--"
He bent over Loretta, caught her hands in his, then sat on the arm of the chair and softly put one arm around her.
"Loretta, I am a fool. I mean it. And I mean something more. I want you to be my wife."
He waited anxiously in the pause that followed.
"You might answer me," he urged.
"I will . . . if--"
"Yes, go on. If what?"
"If I don't have to marry Billy."
"You can't marry both of us," he almost shouted.
"And it isn't the custom . . . what. . . what Billy said?"
"No, it isn't the custom. Now, Loretta, will you marry me?"
"Don't be angry with me," she pouted demurely.
He gathered her into his arms and kissed her.
"I wish it were the custom," she said in a faint voice, from the midst of the embrace, "because then I'd have to marry you, Ned dear . . . wouldn't I?"

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