Press enter after choosing selection

After Many Days

After Many Days image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

CHAITEK III. Never, during all tho bright, idle nummer, had he seen a tear dim the pretty eyos, noran expression of troublo cross tho mobile features. He flattered himsolf he kaew the cause of this sorrow, and he reproached himself for his selfishness in desiring to keep for the last moment the sweet assurance that she was as dear to him as heinul becoma to hor. Ho crosscd tho room and lifted hor head, taking the trembling little liands in his own, and looked into her eyes, his own shining with a light she had nover seen in human oyes before. "Margio! little poarl,'" ho said abruptly, "do you know I lovo you ind want you for my own?" Margie caught hor broath. Did sud den liappincss evor como to you, roadcr? So suddenthat it soomed as though a ílash of somo magnetic light had glanced Ihrough your heart, and stilled for a moment your vory breath? Loonard saw her start; saw tho bright, vivid lovo-light gloam from tho nplifted oyes, and know this sweot, guilless life was all his own. "1 iim foing homo' lo-morrow, littlo pearl," he continuod, "but I will come agaia beforo tho trocs havo put off tneir autnmn glory, and tako my brido to hor city honie. Will you como?" 'I think so," Margie said gfayoly. Thon yiolding to tho intonso hnppiness that fillod her hoart, sho roachod both arms up and drow hi faco down to hers, and kissed both bronzod eheeks. A momont aftor John Maynard and Vi. atepped softly back from tho opon door, whero they had boen involuntary witnossos of the scène. Vi. in talking 10 Clarice aftcrward said sho nover heard of anything so absurd as making lovo over a pan full of applo pealings, while John Maynard went homo after doing his rand, and comiDg into tho siüing roon: whero his mothor was,'droppod down on his knees at hor sido and laid his hoad in lier lap. "lt's all over with mo, mothor,' he said. Mrs. Mayuard had long known of John's untoldlove for Margio Loe, and now hor hoart achod for tho sorrow of this, her only son. "Has sho said 'no' to you, John?" sho asked presently, wondering how any woman could tind it in her heart to rofuso the lovo of so noble a hoart. "I have not asked hor," ho answered, 'mt I saw. enough to teil me sho is not to be inine." So Loonard Bryant bade theni all good-bye and went his way to preparo a homo for his brido. Margie was very busy after hor lovcr's departuro making ready all the giirmonts bofi Hing the adornmentof a bridc-oloct. Even Clarice was arousod onough to forsako hor loved books and tako part in this romance in real life; and Vi. stitchod industriously and vowed ia her impulsivo mannor never to bo married if slio had to have so many tucksand frills and pufïs upon hor own wedding garmonts. So tho autumn weeks passed rapidly and ono golden day late in üctobor, when nature was looking royallylovely, giving to tho oarth a short season of regal beauty beforo doffing her gold andcrimson, Leonard Bryant came to the farmhouso and boro f rom it the fairost and sweetest of its inmates. Tho wedding wa3 vory quiet, nono but the noar noighbors and irionds being invitod. John Mayaard roceived a business cali that took him from homo at the timo, but his mothcr was present, and nono kissod tho pretty brido moro warmly, or wished lier moro happiness, than she. So Margie went to her now. strange life in tho city, and the old homestoad saw her no more for many. many days. And then sho carne alone, hor pale, beautiful faco, wilh its largo, starry oyes gloaming amid tho sombro draperies ot a widow's garmont. Margie'a married life was as a sealed book to those loft bohind at the farm. Brief letters carried the information that she was woll and happy, and for two yoars tho loving hearts that waitod for news drcamcd of no shadow oxisting in the bright sky of Margio's lifo. Tho letters grow shorter and loss frequent, giving the merost goneral facts concerning her manner of existonce, and thon Mr. and Mrs. Bryant had gone abroad, and all intercourso had ceased, owing, the family believod, to the wandering lifo of tho pair. Dr. Lee had passed from life; leaving a legacy of blessing and loving farewell for his daughter; and Vi. had married a thri7ing young farmer, and the young couple lived with Clarico at tho homestead. Near tho close of the socond year of wandering, a letter, doeply edged with black, came to tho little circle at tho homo. Her husbaid had died, after seokiog long for some elimo to rostoro health to his wasting framo, and now Margio was coming homo, to the doar old farm, never to leavo it, sho fondly hoped, while life should last. Had lifo and lovo been all it had proniisod to tho innocent, trusting girl who had so foarlessly givou horself into tho kooping of a stranger? Had naught but happiness come to ftll the yoars sinco she left her childhood's homo? Nono kncw;foralthough the lettortold Of hor utter lonoliness now, it brcathed of nothing olso, and when sho arrivod at home, tho pale, vroary faco, with its sorrowfuJ dark oyos, told no more. So Margie took uu iifo again after its lona; break at tbo old farm house, and went quiotly helping Clarice at her housobold dutios, or playing with Vi's baby, and gradually losing tbo shadow from her oyes, and the white, listless look frooi her features. The years, whatovor they rnay have held of disappointment, had not takon away any of tho boauty that marked her girlhood, but had, on the contrpry, developed into full perfoction the proniise of those early yoars, and at twenty-six Margie Bryant was a beautiful woman. Those four 3roars of intercourse with the world had polisbed and refined tho naturally delicate perceptions, and Margie niight never moro say she folt "ashamod" of her montal ncquirements. At.first, upon coming homo, sho had remained entirely secluded from all society, not caring to meet any of tbe curious acquaintances wbo camo of ten to tho house, but gradually she overéame this feoling of reticonce and mingled more f roely with tho frientls of her girlhood days Among ihe first whum she visited was Mrs. Maynard. Time had not dealt lightly with tho old lady, and sho was unable to leave the house. Tbo first timo Murgio went to soo her old friend sho walked up tho path and in at the open door without knocking. How familiar overything was! Tho samo bright rag-carpet on tho tloor, the same brass candió sticks and china shephordesses upon tho high old-fashioned maiitel-pieco. Margie stood a moment silent, looking at tho old lady as she sat in her high-backed rocking-ckair, her oyos closed in a light sleep, then crossing the room, sho bont and softly kissod the fadod cheek of the slooper. Light as was tho touch of her lips it awoke tho old lady, who oponed her eyes and gazed half-bewildered at tho smiling visión before her. Margio knelt down and put her arms around tho figure in tho chair. "You have not forgotten mo, dear Mrs. Maynard?" she said softly, "Forgotten you, litllo Margio Loe!" said tho old lady earnostly. "I have thought of you every day since you left us. Oh ! how lonely we were after you wero gone. But you have come back to us now?" "Yes I lia ve como back," said Margio simply. A slight noise at the door caused her to turn, and John Maynard stood beforo hor. Ho know she had returned, but could this beautiful - royálly boautiful - woman, that roso from her kneos and came forward to greot him. ber silKen robo trailing upon tho carpet, be little Margie, the bright, pretty girl to whom he had givon his hoart so many years ago? Itmustbo, for sho held out two pretty hands and said brightly, in tho familiar voico of his little girl-swoethoart ; ' 'Arn't yoa glad to seo me, John? . I can hardly think so, though, for you havo let two weeks go by sinco I camo home and you have not shown your face." John took the outstretcbed hands in his a moment and looked into tho porfoct faco. "I was afraid of intruding,1' ho said gravoly. "My frionds can nsver intrude upon me," answored Margio, and then sho sat down upon a stool at Mrs. Maynard'sfoot, and John, who, poor, simple fellow, had thoaght his lovo dead and buriod years ago', sat upon tho doorstop and watchod ovory motion of tho gracefnl iiguro, and listoned to orery tone of tho wüll-known voico, and dreamod, as ho had droamod four yoars ago. So Margio foll into tho old habit of goiug ana often down tho laño to tlíe old-fashioned houso of herfrioDd, and John feil into the habit of coming up totho farm, as ho had done in thoso by-gonojdays. He had not boon idlo all those years, and Margie found a new and strange ploasuro in hearing him talk ol his busy lifo and his plans for tho futuro and daily the starry eyes grew brightor, and tho fresh color grow warmer on tho roundest cheek. And thus anothor yoar gjided by, and John Maynard folt that existenco might bold something for him yet in the future. But he told himsolf to be patiënt, not to startlo by unsoomly hasto the noss of thoir intoroourso, and so he held tigkt reign over lm lips and act.ions, and waitod for tho timo when his selfiinposod probation should be at an end. And at lftst Juno blossomed, and sent abroad over the earth hor storo of swcots. Margio wont a usual ouo cvoning to spond a short timo with her old friend, She had lingerod talking with Mrs. Maynard, until tho night had fallón and tho stars glowed in the purplo domo overhoad; thoa kissing her companion good-night, sho went slowly out into the boautiful night. John stood awaiting hor at the gato, and the two passed out and strolled alongf the familiar pat!i as thoy had dono fivo years ago. Thoy walkod silently along until they reached tho point whero John had lost th'at olhei opportunity of speaking the words that burnod on his tonguo. Tho tought of al) that had passod sinco then, of hiá onco blighted hopos, didnot dotor him from asking, tho quesüon tho an swor of which was to dotermine tho futuro of his lifo. Glancing into the loyo-lit faco and eyes only riyaled in brightnoss by the stars which witnessod tho phghting of their troth, ho read tho answer to the quostion askod "aft er many yoars." [thk end I


Old News
Ann Arbor Democrat