"You have indeed punished me for the fatal accident of birth, if it deprives me of you."
"Not so," she added weeping; "I shall never be the bride of earth; and but for one whose claims though earthly are to me irresistible, I should have ere this forgotten my hereditary sorrows in the cloister."
All this time Egremont had retained her hand, which she had not attempted to withdraw. He had bent his head over it as she spoke—it was touched with his tears. For some moments there was silence; then looking up and in a smothered voice Egremont made one more effort to induce Sybil to consider his suit. He combated her views as to the importance to him of the sympathies of his family and of society; he detailed to her his hopes and plans for their future welfare; he dwelt with passionate eloquence on his abounding love. But with a solemn sweetness, and as it were a tender inflexibility, the tears trickling down her beautiful cheek, and pressing his hand in both of hers, she subdued and put aside all his efforts.
"Believe me," she said, "the gulf is impassable."
END OF THE FOURTH BOOK