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gently drawing a warm, bare hand out of the muff where it lay
"Yes, Archie, but not here not now!" cried Phebe, glancing about
her as if suddenly aware that they were not alone.
"No one can see us here I thought of that. Give me one happy
minute, after this long, long year of waiting," answered Archie,
pausing just where the fountain hid them from all eyes, for there
were houses only on one side.
Phebe submitted and never did a plain gold ring slip more easily to
its place than the one he put on in such a hurry that cold December
day. Then one hand went back into the muff red with the grasp he
gave it, and the other to its old place on his arm with a confiding
gesture, as if it had a right there.
"Now I feel sure of you," said Archie as they went on again, and no
one the wiser for that tender transaction behind the ugly pyramid
of boards. "Mac wrote me that you were much admired by your
church people, and that certain wealthy bachelors evidently had
designs on the retiring Miss Moore. I was horribly jealous, but now
I defy every man of them."
Phebe smiled with the air of proud humility that was so becoming
and answered briefly: "There was no danger kings could not
change me, whether you ever came or not. But Mac should not
have told you."
"You shall be revenged on him, then, for, as he told secrets about
you, I'll tell you one about him. Phebe, he loves Rose!" And Archie
looked as if he expected to make a great sensation with his news.
"I know it." And Phebe laughed at his sudden change of
countenance as he added inquiringly, "She told you, then?"
"Not a word. I guessed it from her letters, for lately she says
nothing about Mac, and before there was a good deal, so I
suspected what the silence meant and asked no questions."
"Wise girl! Then you think she does care for the dear old fellow?"
"Of course she does. Didn't he tell you so?"
"No, he only said when he went away, 'Take care of my Rose, and
I'll take care of your Phebe,' and not another thing could I get out
of him, for I did ask questions. He stood by me like a hero, and
kept Aunt Jane from driving me stark mad with her 'advice.' I don't
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