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has dropped asleep at last. I've sent for Steve and the other boys.
There will be time for them later, but he so begged to see you now,
I thought it best to come while this temporary strength keeps him
up. I have told him how it is, but he will not believe me. If he asks
you, answer honestly and try to fit him a little for this sudden
ending of so many hopes."
"How soon, Uncle?"
"A few hours, probably. This tranquil moment is yours make the
most of it and, when we can do no more for him, we'll comfort one
Mac met them in the hall, but Rose hardly saw him. She was
conscious only of the task before her and, when her uncle led her
to the door, she said quietly, "Let me go in alone, please."
Archie, who had been hanging over the bed, slipped away into the
inner room as she appeared, and Rose found Charlie waiting for
her with such a happy face, she could not believe what she had
heard and found it easy to say almost cheerfully as she took his
eager hand in both of hers: "Dear Charlie, I'm so glad you sent for
me. I longed to come, but waited till you were better. You surely
are?" she added, as a second glance showed to her the
indescribable change which had come upon the face which at first
seemed to have both light and color in it.
"Uncle says not, but I think he is mistaken, because the agony is all
gone, and except for this odd sinking now and then, I don't feel so
much amiss," he answered feebly but with something of the old
lightness in his voice.
"You will hardly be able to sail in the Rajah, I fear, but you won't
mind waiting a little while we nurse you," said poor Rose, trying to
talk on quietly, with her heart growing heavier every minute.
"I shall go if I'm carried! I'll keep that promise, though it costs me
my life. Oh, Rose! You know? They've told you?" And, with a
sudden memory of what brought him there, he hid his face in the
"You broke no promise, for I would not let you make one, you
remember. Forget all that, and let us talk about the better time that
may be coming for you."
"Always so generous, so kind!" he murmured, with her hand
against his feverish cheek; then, looking up, he went on in a tone
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