"I know it," he said, and further speech seemingly failed him. Victoria had the greater courage of the two.
"I've often thought of it," he replied, still seeking his words with difficulty. "I find myself with more to do every year, Victoria, instead of less."
"Then why don't you give it up?"
"Why?" he asked, "why? Sometimes I wish with my whole soul I could give it up. I've always said that you had more sense than most women, but even you could not understand."
"I could understand," said Victoria.
He threw at her another glance,--a ring in her words proclaimed their truth in spite of his determined doubt. In her eyes--had he but known it!--was a wisdom that exceeded his.
"You don't realize what you're saying," he exclaimed; "I can't leave the helm."
"Isn't it," she said, "rather the power that is so hard to relinquish?"