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hope of being worthy of you will help him more than any prayers
or preaching of mine. Thirdly, because it will need all our wit and
patience to undo the work of nearly four and twenty years. You
understand what I mean?"
"Can you say 'no' when he asks you to say 'yes' and wait a little for
"And will you?"
"Then I'm satisfied, and a great weight taken off my heart. I can't
help seeing what goes on, or trembling when I think of you setting
sail with no better pilot than poor Charlie. Now you answer as I
hoped you would, and I am proud of my girl!"
They had been standing with the width of the room between them,
Dr. Alec looking very much like a commander issuing orders,
Rose like a well-drilled private obediently receiving them, and
both wore the air of soldiers getting ready for a battle, with the
bracing of nerves and quickening of the blood brave souls feel as
they put on their armor. At the last words he went to her, brushed
back the hair, and kissed her on the forehead with a tender sort of
gravity and a look that made her feel as if he had endowed her
with the Victoria Cross for courage on the field.
No more was said then, for Aunt Plenty called them down and the
day's duties began. But that brief talk showed Rose what to do and
fitted her to do it, for it set her to thinking of the duty one owes
one's self in loving as in all the other great passions or experiences
which make or mar a life.
She had plenty of time for quiet meditation that day because
everyone was resting after yesterday's festivity, and she sat in her
little room planning out a new year so full of good works, grand
successes, and beautiful romances that if it could have been
realized, the Millennium would have begun. It was a great comfort
to her, however, and lightened the long hours haunted by a secret
desire to know when Charlie would come and a secret fear of the
first meeting. She was sure he would be bowed down with
humiliation and repentance, and a struggle took place in her mind
between the pity she could not help feeling and the disapprobation
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