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touching demonstration, though she did not know why.
"But he loved you so!" began Mac, feeling as if a barrier had
suddenly gone down but not daring to venture in as yet.
"That was the hard part of it! That was why I tried to love him,
why I hoped he would stand fast for my sake, if not for his own,
and why I found it so sad sometimes not to be able to help
despising him for his want of courage. I don't know how others
feel, but, to me, love isn't all. I must look up, not down, trust and
honor with my whole heart, and find strength and integrity to lean
on. I have had it so far, and I know I could not live without it."
"Your ideal is a high one. Do you hope to find it, Rose?" Mac
asked, feeling, with the humility of a genuine love, that he could
not give her all she desired.
"Yes," she answered, with a face full of the beautiful confidence in
virtue, the instinctive desire for the best which so many of us lose
too soon, to find again after life's great lessons are well learned. "I
do hope to find it, because I try not to be unreasonable and expect
perfection. Smile if you will, but I won't give up my hero yet," and
she tried to speak lightly, hoping to lead him away from a more
"You'll have to look a long while, I'm afraid," and all the glow was
gone out of Mac's face, for he understood her wish and knew his
answer had been given.
"I have Uncle to help me, and I think my ideal grew out of my
knowledge of him. How can I fail to believe in goodness, when he
shows me what it can be and do?"
"It's no use for me to say any more, for I have very little to offer. I
did not mean to say a word till I earned a right to hope for
something in return. I cannot take it back, but I can wish you
success, and I do, because you deserve the very best." And Mac
moved as if he was going away without more words, accepting the
inevitable as manfully as he could.
"Thank you that makes me feel very ungrateful and unkind. I wish
I could answer you as you want me to for, indeed, dear Mac, I'm
very fond of you in my own way," and Rose looked up with such
tender pity and frank affection in her face, it was no wonder the
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