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A Circle In The Sand

A Circle In The Sand image
Parent Issue
Day
9
Month
December
Year
1898
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

([ of N V mT7)ef(ssef God'Thc CMAerJfousc?) "I snppose I shouldn't have asked yon tocóme, "besaid, lifting the snowy cloak f rom her shoulders, "bnt Joe ■wanted yon. Oiily a few nioinents after the messenger had gonehedied." There was a defiant, unhappy smile on bis Jips. "His reprieve was short lived, wasn't it? Aud I had meant to make faim happy. I was not permitted, you gee. Perhaps I was not fit. " "Don't - r!au't - Douald" - And Aune, viius Is to say more, sat down beBide the bed. The room was sileut. Mrs. Mulligan had stopped the doek, and the hands pointed to the last moment of Joe's life. The old woman wbo had so sincerely loved the waif drew the cloth to the sharp chin and stood like a figure of fate, drearily noddiug. The boy 's face wore the look of fixed appeal with which the dead can disarin even bate. "A wild night to die!" sighed Mrs. Mnlligan, striking her palms softly together. "He was a sinall gossoon to go 80 far alone. Poor Joe! Ye'll never hould me yarn for me again. I'll miss ye, 'cushla, sore I'll miss ye. " Breaking intu sobs, she went ont. "Anne, I want to speak to yon." The words were a breath and spoken over her shoulder. She half turned, when Douald's hand was laid upou her arm. "No, " be said quiekly, "don't look at me. Let me say what I raust here. " Hia dark, agouized face was bent above ber as she sat in a waiting attitude, ber eyes on tbe silent clock. A lock of bair lay on ber shoulder, and Donald's fingers touohed it stealthily dnring a moment's pause. "How can I say what I waut to?" be asked belplessly. "But I needn't say all. You know what you've been to me. Anne, tbis room holds all rny worse than useless liíe bas known - you and what was Joe. His eyes are forever cloaed, the first whose worsbip I felt I deserved. You don't know wbat tbat xneant to me. His look was like a waiting pardon, no matter wbat my sins. " Sbe tried to lift ber band and speak, but be pressed it back, still avoícting ber gaze. "Wbat I was to Joe, ' ' he said, "you've been to me - that and more. The bond between ua makes me know that in aome dear sense I belong to you - that you will be made glad or sad by what I may become. Well, far away from yon in a land where I shall be alone and lonely I'm goinjf to work thinking of yon. After tonight I may not see you again for years. Wben I am fit, I '11 come back, and I may say to you then, Anne, what now I must only whisper from sbadow and without a hope. I love you. You are more to rae than creed or churcb or prayers, for you've done what these couldn't. And I love you for yourself, apart from this altogetber. I love you, Anne. I love you." His voice faltered. Anne rose and faced him. It seemed as if chords in her soul had been struck harshly that night, but in some insolvable way a wondrons barmony had resulted. Tbe yearning sentiment wbich Donald bad always inspired in her rose to sometbing more. In being hope, desire and strength to him there was a responsibility of joy and pain she could not wholly accept, yet would not repulse. She gave him her bands, her mouth quivering like a child's. Her eyes were all tenderness and confidence. "I don't deserve a love like tbis, " sbe said seriously. "How littlel deserve it! But ril remember, Donald." Sbe sigbed and looked at bim intently. "I'll remember all you'vesaid." But when his eyes grew more wistful she looked away. It was after 2 o'olock wben Donald left her at her door and said goodby. Sbe watcbed him down the Street and saw him stand once in the drifting suow and look back. She went slowly up the stairs and into the sitting room, where the fire bad been kept bright. A mocking presence seemed to greet her. Just witbin the door sbe leaned against the wall. There was tbe snow padded window, tbe curtain drawn back as her hand had placed it. By the fire was the cbair in which David Temple had sat. She saw the book on which her elbow had rested as she listened to him. In tbe shock of Joe's death and Donald's unexpected words the raemory of tbe bitter bour spent there had been crowded back. Now it started into full life, and apprehensive disgust of the days to come nullified other feeling witbin her. "Ob, to forget, to forget, toforget!" Sbe flung off cloak and bat and sat down at ber desk before the window. Her lips were set and seemed to have been brushed with ashes. Her eyes were shut beneatb frowning brows. Sbe would forget - she must. She could not bear tbe days to come unless she did forget. Before her lay the portfolio holding the pages of her neglected novel. Scarcely knowing what she did, she opened it and laid her bands upon the leaves. A phrase bere and there caugbt ber eyes, tbe name of tbe cbaracters sbe bad created. A deeper attraction for the work awoke in her, desire for sleep departed, and she feit alive to ber finger tips. Sbe bent over the pages, and her pen went haltingly at first, but by degrees a new desire dominated her, and nothing but the tbought and the word born of the tbought was real to her. All else had failed. This power in herself was strong asá true. Though all other lighti forsake her, tbis never would. Her cheek was gray, and the light had gone from her eyes, whose lashes were stiffened with tears. Bnt she was no louger uuhappy. The drifting mists of that strange dawn fled tinder the f uil sunlight and fouud her still writing. GHAPTER XIV. Seven months had passed between David's ruarriage in April and the foggy afternoon when ho and Olga with sonie other hundred souls arrived in New York on board the Lucania, Dr. Ericsson was at the wharf to meet thern. Tbey were to dine that night en familie at the old honso in Waverly place. "Aune cau't be with us, " said the old man regretfnlly as the carriage took them up Broadway. "Her old home in tho country is without a tenant at present, and she's taking a rest there. She's been working too hard, too steadily, night and day. ' , "She's a fooi, " said Olga from her corner, whore she sat wrapped in fors to the nose. "Sbe'll be used up in five years. " David feit bis heart grow warm at the mention of Anne's name. The old life would be delightful again. He had lost inany ideáis during the long honeymoon and now longed for work, the rush of The Oitizen's rooms, where discussions on life's verities shot to and fró like a weaver's shuttle. He louged for a sight of Anue at her corner desk with bent profile or cheek restiug in her hand. His marriage should not alter the friendship which had be.eu in its way more satisfying, as it surely was rarer, than love. A comrade of a pretty, clever woman was the best gift a man could have iu life. And he knew Aune would be glad to have hiru back. She had missed hini, for she chose few l'rieuds, and none had been to her like him. "Teil me abont Anne, :' he said eagerly, while he gazed with pleasure at the familiar street scènes franied in the carriage Windows. "She's well, isn't she?" "Oh, yes, indeed !" said Dr. Ericsson, with a bright smile. " Why shouldu't Bhe be? If, as they say, a woman thrives on admiration, she's had quite euough to turn that dark tressed hea;l of hers. You kuow about her book. " "No. Is it finished? You don'fc mean she's had her book published? Hhe did not write that bit of uews. I cali it sly of her." "Perhaps she doubted its merit, its reception. She doubts no louger. Tbere are plenty of books chucked at the public, bnt seldom oue like hers. Everybody is recommending it to everybody else." "Tbis is great news. Do you hear, Olga?" But Olga was asleep. "Morgan did a good thingfor hinaself when he got her for The Planet, didu't he?" asked Dr. Ericsson. "You'll miss her on The Citizen.'' "What do you mean;" asked David. "I don't know what you're talking about." "Bnt you kDew Anna was no longer ■with The Citizen." "No, Ididu't." "She wrote yon tendays - two weeks ago." "I didn't get the letter, then." And David sat back, makiug noeffort to hide bis disappointment. After learning the particulars he was sileut. He could not realize Aune .:.s gone, and with her to a great extent the influence in his life he desired and loved in the purest sense. He longed to see her again that ïiight. There was much ho wanted to talk to her abont. He wanted her to come down a room and welcome him. He wanted to hear her bright account of the multitude of incidents which had happened duriug the months he had been away. Sbe had a pretty trick when talking of bringing her fist down upon her knee in the most gentle way that had always reminded him of a flower striking its heat] against a wall - he wanted to see that, and her nplifted face, and to hear her quick laugh. He had feit a similar but less iutricate craving for a cbum at school after the división of the holidays. The feeling strengthened during the night, and long after Olga had gone to her first land sleep on a bed that didn't wabble he found himself treading the stairs leading to The Citizen offices. It was close upon midnight. He had not been expected nntil morning, and his coming made a sensatiou. In a twinkling he was in the ruidst of the old life, flnding at that uuexpected moment a score of questions to decide and the usual turmoil singiug in the air. " He flung himself into the work, his disappointment about Anne almost forgotten in the earnestness of the honr. But in the early morning, with the wet, first copy of the paper in bis band, he stood before her deserted desk. A sense of loss crept coldly over him. Would he uever eee her eitting there again?