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The Other Woman
by [?]

“I am afraid I interrupted you,” said the young man, tentatively.

“No, I have interrupted myself,” replied the bishop. “I don’t seem to make this clear to myself,” he said, touching the paper in front of him, “and so I very much doubt if I am going to make it clear to any one else. However,” he added, smiling, as he pushed the manuscript to one side, “we are not going to talk about that now. What have you to tell me that is new?”

The younger man glanced up quickly at this, but the bishop’s face showed that his words had had no ulterior meaning, and that he suspected nothing more serious to come than the gossip of the clubs or a report of the local political fight in which he was keenly interested, or on their mission on the East Side. But it seemed an opportunity to Latimer.

“I have something new to tell you,” he said, gravely, and with his eyes turned toward the open fire, “and I don’t know how to do it exactly. I mean I don’t just know how it is generally done or how to tell it best.” He hesitated and leaned forward, with his hands locked in front of him, and his elbows resting on his knees. He was not in the least frightened. The bishop had listened to many strange stories, to many confessions, in this same study, and had learned to take them as a matter of course; but to-night something in the manner of the young man before him made him stir uneasily, and he waited for him to disclose the object of his visit with some impatience.

“I will suppose, sir,” said young Latimer, finally, “that you know me rather well–I mean you know who my people are, and what I am doing here in New York, and who my friends are, and what my work amounts to. You have let me see a great deal of you, and I have appreciated your doing so very much; to so young a man as myself it has been a great compliment, and it has been of great benefit to me. I know that better than any one else. I say this because unless you had shown me this confidence it would have been almost impossible for me to say to you what I am going to say now. But you have allowed me to come here frequently, and to see you and talk with you here in your study, and to see even more of your daughter. Of course, sir, you did not suppose that I came here only to see you. I came here because I found that if I did not see Miss Ellen for a day, that that day was wasted, and that I spent it uneasily and discontentedly, and the necessity of seeing her even more frequently has grown so great that I cannot come here as often as I seem to want to come unless I am engaged to her, unless I come as her husband that is to be.” The young man had been speaking very slowly and picking his words, but now he raised his head and ran on quickly.

“I have spoken to her and told her how I love her, and she has told me that she loves me, and that if you will not oppose us, will marry me. That is the news I have to tell you, sir. I don’t know but that I might have told it differently, but that is it. I need not urge on you my position and all that, because I do not think that weighs with you; but I do tell you that I love Ellen so dearly that, though I am not worthy of her, of course, I have no other pleasure than to give her pleasure and to try to make her happy. I have the power to do it; but what is much more, I have the wish to do it; it is all I think of now, and all that I can ever think of. What she thinks of me you must ask her; but what she is to me neither she can tell you nor do I believe that I myself could make you understand.” The young man’s face was flushed and eager, and as he finished speaking he raised his head and watched the bishop’s countenance anxiously. But the older man’s face was hidden by his hand as he leaned with his elbow on his writing- table. His other hand was playing with a pen, and when he began to speak, which he did after a long pause, he still turned it between his fingers and looked down at it.