The Guardian Angel by Paul de Kock

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The Guardian Angel

A Chapter from "Zizine"


Paul de Kock

Edward never passed a day without going to Madame Dolbert's;

the good lady received him as a man to whom she hoped one day to

give the name of son, and Stephanie with that sweet smile which

betrayed to all eyes the inmost secret of her heart.

But it was not thus that the lover of Stephanie desired to be

loved. Conducting himself before the world with an extreme

reserve, it was only in private, and in low whispers, and when

removed from the vigilance of her grandmother, that Edward spoke

to the young girl of love; but then his words were burning, and

his eyes had an expression which compelled Stephanie to avert her

own; his caressing hands sought always to approach her -- to touch

the robe, the arm, or the knee of the young girl, who sometimes

found herself suddenly embraced, and pressed warmly to a heart

that was beating rapidly with the most ardent desires.

Stephanie responded with an undisguised affection to the

transports of the man who seemed so happy by her side. But when

Edward, profiting by an unobserved interview, pressed her tenderly

to his arms, she suffered an embarrassment, an agitation, which

resembled alarm; and she disengaged herself from the embrace which

would retain her, with the question -- "But since, my friend, you

love me so fondly, why don't you tell me so before my mother? When

we are in society, you hardly look at me; you seem to fear that

our love should be suspected. Why is this? There is no harm in

our loving -- you have yourself told me so;-- why then should it

be a secret?"

To these questions Edward replied --"I cannot yet avow my

love -- family reasons prevent me; but, my dear Stephanie, they

need not prevent us from indulging our love. The world is a wicked

world, and as it always puts a wrong construction on the conduct

of its members, we need not admit it to the confidence of our

secret sentiments. Believe me, mystery is one of the great charms

of love. Are we not an hundred times better pleased with a good

fortune of which others know nothing? My dear Stephanie, still let

me see you in secret,-- permit me still to have with you those

sweet interviews, in which we can at least exchange the tender

caresses which the world would blame, and which make me so happy."

Stephanie sighed, and whispered: "in secret -- how? I do not

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