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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/246

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he silently cursed the fat man in front of him who was so slow in getting down the steps.

When he climbed up into the seat beside his wife and kissed her, he felt, with the sympathetic sensitiveness that was his peculiar endowment, that something wonderful and important to them both had taken place.

"Oh, Stewart!" she said, and then, with a smile on her lips and tears in her eyes, she was silent. She turned the horses round; they wanted to trot, but she held them in and made them walk along the maple-bordered street, though they tossed their heads protestingly. Then she spoke, with a tremor of exultation in her voice. "I wanted to tell you at once—I could hardly wait—I wanted to write it to you—but somehow it was n't anything I could write—Stewart!"

He looked at her oddly, wondering.

"What is it, dear?" he asked.

"Can't you guess? Oh, Stewart—we're going to be so much happier!"

He put his arm round her and murmured into her ear.

"Yes," she answered. "Oh, I'm so glad! Stewart, aren't you glad?"

He made no reply, but he pressed her more tightly with his arm. After a moment he said soberly,—

"I believe that's what I've been wanting all along—only I did n't know—"

"I knew," she answered. "It was because of that you were so unhappy, dear."

She looked round at him with a serene confidence in her explanation, and an unselfish gladness that she was able to bring him this happiness. He understood it and was touched. It drew from him a boyish expression of love, and even the levity with which he followed it was caressing and tender.

"How terribly handsome you are, Lydia!" he said, and then he added, with a smile, "I'll bet the little one will be a peach!"