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- The Right of Way, Volume 4. - 14/14 -

self-welled up. Her breath came hard and broken.

As Charley read on, a breathing seemed to answer his own. It became quicker than his own, it pierced the stillness, it filled the room with feeling, it came calling to him out of the silence. He swung round, and saw the girl in the doorway.

"Rosalie!" he cried, and sprang to his feet.

With a piteously pathetic cry, she flung herself on her knees beside the tailor's bench where he worked every day, and, burying her face in her arms as they rested on the bench, wept bitterly.

"Rosalie!" he said anxiously, leaning over her. "What is the matter? What has happened?"

She wept more bitterly still; she made a despairing gesture. His hand touched her hair; he dropped on a knee beside her.

"Oh, I am so ashamed, ashamed! I have been so wicked," she murmured.

"Rosalie, what has happened?" he urged gently. His own heart was beating hard, his own eyes were responding to hers. The new feelings alive in him, the forces his love had awakened, which, last night, had kept him sleepless, and had been upon him like a dream all day--they were at height in him now. He knew not how to command them.

"Rosalie, dearest, tell me all!" he persisted.

"I shall never--I have been--oh--you will never forgive me!" she said brokenly. "I knew it wasn't true, but I couldn't help it. I saw her-- the woman--come from your house, and--"

"Hush! For God's sake, hush!" he broke in almost harshly. Then a better understanding came upon him, and it made him gentle with her.

"Ah, Rosalie, you did not think! But--but it was natural you should wish to see me. . . ."

"But, as soon as I saw you, I knew that--that--" She broke down again and wept.

"I will tell you about her, Rosalie--" His fingers stroked her hair, and, bending over her, his face was near her hands.

"No, no, tell me nothing--oh, if you tell me!--"

"She came to hear from me what she ought to have heard from the Notary. She has had great trouble--the man--her child--and I have helped her, told her--" His face was so near now that his breath was on her hair. She suddenly raised her head and clasped his face in her hands.

"I knew--oh, I knew, I knew . . . !" she wept, and her eyes drank his.

"Rosalie, my life!" he cried, clasping her in his arms.

The love that was in him, new-born and but half understood, poured itself out in broken words like her own. For him there was no outside world; no past, no Kathleen, no Billy; no suspicion, or infidelity, or unfaith; no fear of disaster; no terrors of the future. Life was Now to him and to her: nothing brooded behind, nothing lay before. The candle spluttered and burnt low in the socket.


A left-handed boy is all right in the world Damnable propinquity Hugging the chain of denial to his bosom I have a good memory for forgetting Importunity with discretion was his motto It is good to live, isn't it? Know how bad are you, and doesn't mind Strike first and heal after--"a kick and a lick"


The Right of Way, Volume 4. - 14/14

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