This time Lambert obeyed, and laughed as he did so. "Your taunts don't hurt me in the least," he observed. "I love you too much."

"And I love in return. No! Don't rise again. I did not come here to revive the embers of our dead passion."

"Embers!" cried Lambert with bitter scorn. "Embers, indeed! And a dead passion; how well you put it. So far as I am concerned, Agnes, the passion is not dead and never will be."

"I am aware of that, and so I have come to appeal to that passion. Love means sacrifice. I want you to understand that."

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"I do, by experience. Did I not surrender you for the sake of the family name? Understand! I should think I did understand."

"I—think—not," said Lady Agnes slowly and gently. "It is necessary to revive your recollections. We loved one another since we were boy and girl, and we intended, as you know, to marry. There was no regular engagement between us, but it was an understood family arrangement. My father always approved of it; my brother did not."

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"No. Because he saw in you an article of sale out of which he hoped to make money," sneered Lambert, nursing his ankle.

Lady Agnes winced. "Don't make it too hard for me," she said plaintively. "My life is uncomfortable enough as it is. Remember that when my father died we were nearly ruined. Only by the greatest cleverness did Garvington manage to keep interest on the mortgages paid up, hoping that he would marry a rich wife—an American for choice—and so could put things straight. But he married Jane, as you know—"

"Because he is a glutton, and she knows all about cooking."

"Well, gluttony may be as powerful a vice as drinking and gambling, and all the rest of it. It is with Garvington, although I daresay that seeing the position he was in, people would laugh to think he should marry a poor woman, when he needed a rich wife. But at that time Hubert wanted to marry me, and Garvington got his cook-wife, while I was sacrificed."

"Seeing that I loved you and you loved me, I wonder—"

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"Yes, I know you wondered, but you finally accepted my explanation that I did it to save the family name."