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- The Law of the Land - 49/49 -

come through you. I have felt that, and wanted _so_ long to tell you and to thank you. You--you didn't come!"

"Never mind, never mind," said Eddring, wishing now nothing in the world so much as that he might have spared her this confession. "I've come now--oh, my girl, I've come now."

"All this time," said she, evading as long as she might, "you were trying, you were working, all alone. Mr. Eddring, it was not merely kind of you, it was noble!" And now poor Miss Lady flushed even more hotly than ever, though her heart was lighter for the truth thus told.

Eddring looked straight on down the road ahead of them, the road which broke the rim of the forest toward which they had now unconsciously faced. At length he turned toward her.

"Miss Lady," said he, simply, "I have loved you so much, so very much. I've always loved you. I didn't dare admit it to myself for a long time; but it's run away with me now, absolutely and for ever. I can't look at life--I can't turn any way--I can't think of _anything_ in which I don't see you. It's been this way a long time, but now I'm gone. I can't pull up. Miss Lady, I _couldn't_ go back now and begin life over again alone. I couldn't do that now. I wouldn't want to make you unhappy, ever. Do you think, oh, _don't_ you think that you could depend on me? Don't you think you could love me?"

Miss Lady's eyes were cast down, and her hands were busy at the reins which she shifted between her fingers. Cherry walked slowly and still more slowly, until at length Eddring laid his hand upon the bridle, and Cherry turned about an inquiring eye. He reached out his hand and took in it the small, gray-gloved one which had half-loosed its grasp upon the rein.

"Miss Lady," he whispered. And then slowly the girl lifted her eyes and looked full at him--her eyes now grown soft and gentle.

"Yes," said she, "I can depend," Her voice was very low. Yet the woman-whisper reached to the edge of all the universe--a universe robbed of its last secret by the woman-soul. "I can see you clearly," said Miss Lady, softly. "I see your heart. Yes. I am sure. I understand--I know now who I am. And I know--I know it all. All!"

"But do you love me!" he demanded; and now Cherry's nose was drawn quite over the neck of Jerry. Miss Lady would not answer that, but turned away her face, which was now very pink. "Tell me," he demanded, frowning in his own earnestness, and catching the bridle hand in a stern clasp, "may I depend? Tell me, girl. I can not wait."

There was a gentle breeze among the tree-tops. A mocker near by trilled and gurgled. Eddring leaned forward. It seemed to him he heard a whisper which told him that he might be sure.


The Law of the Land - 49/49

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