Page:My Life and Loves.djvu/339

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LAW WORK AND SOPHY.

"You were not too young to make me love you' she broke in, "and now what shall I do? Even Mamma said that we ought to be engaged and I want you so,—oh! oh!" and again the tears fell in a shower. I could not help saying at last that I would think it all over and let her know and away I went to Rose. Rose heard me out in complete silence and then with her eyes on mine in lingering affection, she said:

"Do you know, I've been afraid often of some decision like this. I said to myself a dozen times, 'why should he stay here? the wider world calls him' and if I feel inclined to hate my work because it prevents my studying, what must it be for him in that horrible court, fighting day after day? I always knew I should lose you, dear!" she added, "but you were the first to help me to think and read, so I must not complain. Do you go soon?"

"On Monday," I replied, and her dear eyes grew sombre and her lips quivered. "You'll write?" she asked, "please do, Frank! No matter what happens I shall never forget you: you've helped me, encouraged me more than I can say. Did I tell you, I've got a place in Crew's bookstore? When I said I had learned to love books from you, he was glad and said 'if you get to know them as well as he did, or half as well, you'll be invaluable'; so you see, I an following in your footsteps, as you are following in Smith's."

"If you knew how glad I am that I've really helped and not hurt you, Rose?" I said sadly, for Lily's accusing voice was still in my ears.

"You couldn't hurt anyone," she exclaimed, almost as if she divined my remorse, "you are so gentle and kind and understanding".

Her words were balm to me and she walked with me to the bridge where I told her she would hear