After completing law school in the spring of 1973, Bill took me on my first trip to Europe to revisit his haunts as a Rhodes Scholar. We landed in London, and Bill proved himself to be a great guide. We spent hours touring Westminster Abbey, the Tate Gallery and Parliament. We walked around Stonehenge and marveled at the greener-than-green hills of Wales. We set out to visit as many cathedrals as we could, aided by a book of meticulously charted walking maps covering a square mile of countryside per page. We meandered from Salisbury to Lincoln to Durham to York, pausing to explore the ruins of a monastery laid waste by Cromwell's troops or wandering through the gardens of a great country estate.
Then at twilight in the beautiful Lake District of England, we found ourselves on the shores of Lake Ennerdale, where Bill asked me to marry him.
I was desperately in love with him but utterly confused about my life and future. So I said, "No, not now." What I meant was, "Give me time."
My mother had suffered from her parents' divorce, and her sad and lonely childhood was imprinted on my heart. I knew that when I decided to marry, I wanted it to be for life. Looking back to that time and to the person I was, I realize how scared I was of commitment in general and of Bill's intensity in particular. I thought of him as a force of nature and wondered whether I'd be up to the task of living through his seasons.
Bill Clinton is nothing if not persistent. He sets goals, and I was one of them. He asked me to marry him again, and again, and I always said no. Eventually he said, "Well, I'm not going to ask you to marry me any more, and if you ever decide you want to marry me then you have to tell me." He would wait me out.
Copyright © 2003 by Hillary Rodham Clinton. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.
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No Man's Land
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Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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