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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/363

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my summer—and if anything should happen and you or I should have to remember always that we had parted without—without as much affection as we might have shown,—I—should never forgive myself. Stewart, dear,"—he bent down at the gentle pressure and kissed her, and she murmured,—"I'm sorry if I've said anything to hurt you—I'm sorry if I have n't seemed to sympathize."

"It's all right, dear," said Stewart, caressing her. "I'm sorry, too, if I've seemed touchy. But you must know I love you just as much as ever—I love you more every day—and when it comes to your going away from me to-morrow—instead of my being too angry to say good-by, as you seem to be afraid, it's—it's a good deal more likely that I shan't be able to trust my voice to speak."

He said this with an emotional little laugh that touched her heart, and her own voice trembled as she answered,—

"I feel very happy now, Stewart. Now I can go to sleep."

The next morning Stewart bade Mr. Dunbar and Lydia good-by at the station, and, looking into her face bright with love yet sad too at the parting, he felt how much he should miss her; tears filled his eyes.

"I—I told you I should n't be able to trust my voice," he said, with a faint smile. He kissed her quickly and then the baby, and hurried away.

He lunched and dined at the club and delayed till late in the evening the return to his house; he feared the first forlorn chill of its loneliness. When he entered it finally, he turned on the lights in the drawing-room and stood dismally surveying the orderly arrangement of swathed furniture and pictures which Lydia had left for him. The room seemed to hold the spirit of her active, cheerful personality even in this dormant state; the books on the table were disarranged as if at the last moment she had scattered them in a hasty search. Moved by a sudden