He flashed a glance at her. Then she was more than doubtful?
'But you have no objection, Marian, to talk in a friendly way of a project that would mean so much to me?'
'But I am afraid to encourage you,' she replied, frankly. 'It is impossible for me to say whether I can do as you wish, or not.'
'Yes, yes; I perfectly understand that. Heaven forbid that I should regard you as a child to be led independently of your own views and wishes! With so large a sum of money at stake, it would be monstrous if I acted rashly, and tried to persuade you to do the same. The matter will have to be most gravely considered.'
'But if only it should come to something! You don't know what it would mean to me, Marian.'
'Yes, father; I know very well how you think and feel about it.'
'Do you?' He leaned forward, his features working under stress of emotion. 'If I could see myself the editor of an influential review, all my bygone toils and sufferings would be as nothing; I should rejoice in them as the steps to this triumph. Meminisse juvabit! My dear, I am not a man fitted for subordinate places. My nature is framed for authority. The failure of all my undertakings rankles so in my heart that sometimes I feel capable of every brutality, every meanness, every hateful cruelty. To you I have behaved shamefully. Don't interrupt me, Marian. I have treated you abominably, my child, my dear daughter--and all the time with a full sense of what I was doing. That's the punishment of faults such as mine. I hate myself for every harsh word and angry look I have given you; at the time, I hated myself!'
'No, no; let me speak, Marian. You have forgiven me; I know it. You were always ready to forgive, dear. Can I ever forget that evening when I spoke like a brute, and you came afterwards and addressed me as if the wrong had been on your side? It burns in my memory. It wasn't I who spoke; it was the demon of failure, of humiliation. My enemies sit in triumph, and scorn at me; the thought of it is infuriating. Have I deserved this? Am I the inferior of--of those men who have succeeded and now try to trample on me? No! I am not! I have a better brain and a better heart!'