At last I was alone with Gladys, and the moment of Fate had come! All that evening I had felt like the soldier who awaits the signal which will send him on a forlorn hope; hope of victory and fear of repulse alternating in his mind.
She sat with that proud, delicate profile of hers outlined against the red curtain. How beautiful she was! And yet how aloof!
I was about to break the long and uneasy silence, when two critical, dark eyes turned at me, and the proud head was shaken in smiling reproof. “I have a presentiment that you are going to propose, Ned. I do wish you wouldn’t, because things are so much nicer as they are.”
Excerpt from “The Lost World” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, with illustration by J.C. Coll, digitally redrawn by Ayal Pinkus