English for Everybody - Advanced reading comprehension


Page 8

Quincy gets serious


Then he said that he had spoken in a light manner, and he hoped that if he had made a mistake in doing so on so grave, so momentous, an occasion for him, I would forgive him. He really did look serious when he was saying it, and I couldn't help feeling a bit serious too - I know, Mina, you will think me a horrid flirt - though I couldn't help feeling a sort of exultation that he was number Two in one day.

And then, my dear, before I could say a word he began pouring out a perfect torrent of love-making, laying his very heart and soul at my feet. He looked so earnest over it that I shall never again think that a man must be playful always, and never earnest, because he is merry at times. I suppose he saw something in my face which checked him, for he suddenly stopped, and said with a sort of manly fervour that I could have loved him for if I had been free.

'Lucy, you are an honest-hearted girl, I know. I should not be here speaking to you as I am now if I did not believe you clean grit, right through to the very depths of your soul. Tell me, like one good fellow to another, is there any one else that you care for? And if there is I'll never trouble you a hair's breadth again, but will be, if you will let me, a very faithful friend.'


Momentous: Very important and serious
Flirt: someone who plays at being attracted to someone else
Exultation: Joyful happiness
Torrent: A fast-flowing stream
Check: Here it means 'stop'
Fervour: Strong emotion
Clean grit: US slang for 'honest and reliable'
A hair's breadth: A small amount

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