Stony – Lonesome.

LYDIA’S eyes strayed over the wide, wooded valley, over the far-off rim of purple hills, and rested wistfully on the tremulous blue beyond. She laid her arms along the top of the worn gray bars, and leaned her rosy face upon her folded brown hands, and fetched a long sigh from the very bottom of her heart. And still she kept her eyes fixed on that patch of shimmering sky. How well she knew that spot, set apart from all the rest of the spacious empty heavens by two jutting shoulders of the hills! In that high notch the sky seemed, to Lydia, ever intenser and more [Page 250] mysterious than elsewhere. It was of a deeper, more palpitating blueness there in the dew-washed summer mornings, of a more thrilling opalescence in the hazy, heated noons, of a more ineffable golden translucency after the setting of the sun. Even at night, too, the place was marked out for her, a low star sometimes beaming like a beacon through the notch.
    Presently the girl lifted her head, and impatiently threw back a loose wisp of crinkled gold-brown hair. Then she dashed a tear from her cheek.
    “I wish, oh, I wish as how I could go! If only gran’mother an’ gran’dad could git along without me for a spell!”
    She turned, picked up her two pails, each half-full of water from the spring, and started up the long, stony lane toward the house. A strong wooden hoop, once part of a [Page 251] molasses hogshead, encircling her a little above the knees, kept the pails from striking against her as she walked. She stepped with resolute alertness, and would not let herself look back toward that magic spot of sky. Her work at the house was calling for her.
    Somewhere far beyond that spot of sky, according to her painstaking calculations and much eager study of the maps in her school geography, lay the city of Lydia’s dreams. From early childhood she had heard and read of Boston, and longed for it. Girls whom she knew, her schoolmates, shy, shabby, and awkward, had gone thither, to disappear from her view for a year or two. They had returned in glorious apparel, self-confident and glib of tongue, to dazzle down all criticism in their quiet Nova Scotian backwoods settlement. Their visits were always brief, but they left heart-burnings and discontent [Page 252] behind them. Lydia had it in her mind that she would never learn those bold glances and that loud chattering in Boston, but her imagination was all on fire with dreams and ambitions, which in Boston only, she thought, could ever find fulfillment. It was not lack of money that kept her, chained and fretting, on the old farm of Stony-Lonesome, as John Cassidy’s place was called. She would have borrowed the little necessary cash, strong in the faith that she would be able to pay it back when she got to the Eldorado of her desires. But her grandfather and grandmother were getting old, and she was all they had to make life sweet. She felt that she was bound to stay at home. Over and over again, as she sent her very soul out toward that mysterious patch of sky, Lydia told herself that she could not purchase the satisfaction of her desire at the cost of loneliness [Page 253] and sorrow for the old people. But the longing in her vigorous young heart grew daily more hard to resist, while her wrestlings with the tyrannous impulse grew daily more feeble. She began to feel with remorse the approach of a day when she would be no longer able to sustain the unequal contest.
    It was with a very anguish of apprehension that Lydia’s grandparents watched her growing restlessness. Their fear was no mere selfish passion. The grandmother, indeed, a gentle, motherly woman, would sit rocking in the sunny porch, and thinking, thinking, thinking, of what Stony-Lonesome would be without “Lyddy.” Far worse than this, to John Cassidy, was a black horror of Boston, which lay like a nightmare on his soul. He loved Lydia with all the pent-up force of a grim, undemonstrative nature; yet the thought of his own pain at losing [Page 254] the sunshine of her presence hardly touched him. His dreams were racked with vision of Lydia’s ruin. He had never seen a city; and he had imagination. In his eyes Boston was a sort of Babylon, where Vice, in grotesquely leering shapes (fashioned from boyish memories of an illustrated copy of the “Pilgrim’s Progress”), caught openly in the streets at the white skirts of Innocence.
    Lydia knew that her grandfather hated Boston with a hate that would endure no argument; and she knew that her grandmother also trembled at the name. The reason for this, however, was far indeed from her remotest guess. The old, old tragedy was at the foundation of it. Lydia’s mother, grown heartsick at eighteen with the bright desolation of Stony-Lonesome, had shaken off restraint and fled away to Boston. After two years at service there she had come back to Stony-Lonesome, broken [Page 255] with pain and shame, deserted by a false lover. Her mother, taking her back to her aching heart had striven to comfort her; but her father, for three long, bitter months, had held sternly aloof from her contrition. Then, forgiving her upon her deathbed, in an agony of love and grief which she had pitifully tried to soothe, he had taken her child to his heart with a consuming devotion. To him, thenceforth, life found expression only in terms of Lydia. This was the name her dying mother had bestowed upon the child, and this, without abbreviation, John Cassidy had called her from the cradle; but the grandmother had shortened it to “Lyddy.”
    As for the name “Stony-Lonesome,” never was appellation more apt. John Cassidy’s father, an eccentric recluse, had built his house upon a hill on the remotest edge of Brine Settlement. The farm had [Page 256] good land attached to it, in the adjacent valley; but the long, round hill, licked naked by an ancient conflagration, was of niggard soil and thick-sown with granite boulders. The house was built so well that time appeared unwilling to try conclusions with it, and so warmly that its occupants did not suffer from its bleak situation. Low-walled and wide, rain-washed to a gray which blended with the surrounding stones, it seemed an outgrowth of the hill itself. The front door was dull yellow. At one corner arose, like a steeple, the stiff gray form of a Lombardy poplar, the only tree on the hill. At the other corner, where the ell straggled off leanly from the main house, stood a huge hogshead to catch the rain-water from the roof. A little square of garden, sloping from the front door, and fenced with low walls of stones carefully piled, was bright with sweet-william and bachelor’s-button [Page 257] and phlox. This patch of color took on a curious pathos from the wide severity which it so vainly strove to soften. The ample barns, which as a rule succeed in giving a certain kindly air to the bleakest scene, were hidden behind the house at Stony-Lonesome.
    As Lydia, gracefully and steadily carrying her two pails of water, reached the top of the hill and turned the corner toward the kitchen door, John Cassidy lifted his eyes from his corn-hoeing in the lower field. He saw Lydia pause at the corner of the house and cast one lingering backward look across the valley toward that notch in the hills. He had watched her at this before, and had come to know what it meant. He trembled, and muttered to himself, “She’s got it! The p’ison’s workin’ in her blood! That’s what’s makin’ her fret so, longin’ to be away to that hell on [Page 258] earth. Lydia, Lydia, I’d ruther see your dear young eyes shet white an’ fast in death than see ye go like your poor mother done!”
    Then, with knit brows and set lips, he went on with his hoeing, till presently Lydia appeared in the kitchen door and blew a long, echoing note on the great shell which served as a dinner-horn. John Cassidy straightened his back, threw down the hoe, and started for the house; and the hired man appeared, coming from behind a copse further down the valley.
    The hired man sat down at the dinner-table along with Mr. and Mrs. Cassidy and Lydia. His name was Job. A pair of kind but shrewd blues eyes twinkled under his pale and bushy eyebrows, giving an alert look to his otherwise heavy face, which was round, red, and hairless. After shovelling a huge quantity of fish and potatoes into his mouth [Page 259], using his knife for the purpose, he stopped for breath.
    “Jim Ed Barnes come by as I was workin’ in the back lot this forenoon,” said he.
    “What did Jim Ed have to say for himself?” asked Lydia.
    “He was tellin’ me,” answered Job, “how fine his sister Ellen was hittin’ it off in Bawston.”
    Mr. and Mrs. Cassidy looked at each other. The old man’s face paled slightly, while his wife made a hasty effort to change the subject.
    “Did he say how his mother’s leg was gittin’?” she inquired, with an excellent assumption of eagerness on her large, gentle face.
    But Lydia interrupted. “What’s she doing, Job? And how is she gitting along? And how does she like it in Bawston?” she queried breathlessly.
    “Why,” said Job, “she’s got to be forewoman in a big millin’ry store [Page 260]. She was always neat-fingered, y’know, an’ took natural to that kinder thing. An’ now she’s makin’ money, I reckon! Why, Jim Ed says as how she sent home two hundred dollars yesterday, to help pay off the mortgage on their place.”
    The potato which he was eating became to John Cassidy as dry as sawdust, and stuck in his throat. He heard Lydia burst out with the cry he had so long been dreading.
    “Oh, gran’dad, oh, gran’mother,” she pleaded, “if only I could go for a little spell an’ try it! I know I could do well,—I feel it in me,—an’ I’d so love to help you pay off that mortgage on Stony-Lonesome that gives you so much bother every year!”
    Seeing their faces of denial, she would not give them time to speak, but went on hastily: “An’ I’d come back every summer, for sure! Oh, it will break my heart to leave you [Page 261], I know; but my heart seems just bursting to go, too. An’ you both know I’d come back when you got old an’ needed me; an’ then I’d stay with you always!”
    “Lyddy, Lyddy,” exclaimed her grandmother in a quivering voice, “don’t we need you now, an’ all the time? Think what it would be for us if you took away the only sunshine that’s left for us in Stony-Lonesome? As fur the mortgage, it ain’t nothing!”
    But John Cassidy turned to the man. “What do you know,” he asked harshly, “of the awful dangers, an’ the scarlet iniquities, an’ all the wrongs an’ woes that crushes the soul in a city? How fur have ye ever been from Brine Settlement?”
    “No furder n’ Halifax, Mr. Cassidy,” said Job cheerfully, “’cept maybe round the world onc’t or twic’t when I was a lad an’ followed the sea [Page 262]!”
    He paused in pardonable triumph; but as John Cassidy had no answer on his tongue, he went on: “An’ I’ve found human natur’ pretty much the same everywheres. I reckon ’t ain’t no worse in Bawston than in Brine Settlement, all in all!”
    “You know,” began Lydia excitedly, “now, while you an’ gran’dad have each other, an’ so well an’ strong, and—and—young, in fact, now’s the time for me to go—”
    But at this point the look in her grandfather’s face stopped her right short, her sentence dangling weakly in the air. Could he be a little—just a little—“touched” on the subject of Boston? she wondered. At least, she would drop the subject for the present, and await a more auspicious hour for resuming it. As she came to this conclusion, her grandmother spoke again.
    “You’re so young yet, Lyddy. Surely you can stay a bit longer in [Page 263] the old nest. Hain’t the old folks got some claim on you yet?” she pleaded.
    And Lydia, still glancing furtively and uneasily at her grandfather’s face, replied: “Yes, dear. We won’t talk any more about it now,—not this summer at all,” she added, with sudden resolution, followed by a sigh.
    John Cassidy could not trust himself to speak on the subject, so he proceeded to give Job directions about the afternoon’s work. Dinner was done, and Lydia set herself to clearing the table.
    John Cassidy wandered aimlessly about the kitchen, cutting his tobacco and filling his black clay pipe, till Lydia, having mixed a dish of potatoes and corn meal, went out to feed a coop of chickens back of the barn. Then he stood still in front of his wife.
    “Oh, John, how are we goin’ to [Page 264] keep her to home without makin’ her feel as how she’s in a prison?” moaned Mrs. Cassidy, rocking herself to and fro.
    “That’s the trouble, Marthy,” said he slowly. “I can’t bear to make her feel that way. An’ she sees other girls goin’! An’ oh, the rovin’ spirit’s in her blood! We must git her more books, an’ let her go round more an’ have a good time. I hain’t quite understood her in the past, maybe.”
    “But she’ll want to go next winter, John. An’ we’ll have to let her go, or she’ll git to hate Stony-Lonesome an’ fret herself to death.”
    “I’ll see her dead,” said John Cassidy slowly through white lips, “afore I’ll let her go!” Then the fire smouldered down in his heart, and he went on: “But we’ll try to wean her from it, Marthy; an’ maybe God’ll help us. He didn’t help us much the other time, about Maggie [Page 265], but maybe he’ll hear us now. There’s that organ the agent over to the Corners was tryin’ to sell me. We’ll git it. Lydia’s been wantin’ one this long time.”
    He stopped abruptly as Lydia came in with the empty dish. Putting a light to his pipe, he went out at once. Lydia had caught his last words, and now she saw her grandmother’s eyes red and swollen. Her heart was torn with divided emotions. She was angry at the idea of being bribed, like a child, to give up what she looked upon as her serious ambitions. She told herself that the young had a right, a sacred right, to carve out their fortunes; and she was full of the idea that she had talents,—of just what nature she was hardly yet quite sure. At the same time, she loved her grandparents more deeply even than she herself suspected; and now, realizing as she had never done before the pain which [Page 266] she would cause them by her going, she shrank at the thought of it. She did think of it, however, nearly all that night; and rising in the morning, dull-eyed, from a sleepless pillow, she told her grandparents that for a whole year, at least, she would say no more of Boston. Their joy was an illumination to her. A gladder sunshine seemed to stream down upon Stony-Lonesome, and she heard her grandfather whistling like a boy over his work in the corn-field. For days she herself had a calm, contented spirit, and turned her eyes no more to the notch in the hills.
    It could not be expected that this contentment, reached so abruptly, should prove lasting. In a few weeks the young girl felt again the sting of the old restlessness. But she would not let it appear. In the autumn, when several girls of her acquaintance went away, full of sanguine enthusiasm, the gnawing fever in her veins [Page 267] grew almost intolerable. She fought it with a resolution which might have reassured John Cassidy as to her moral fibre; but it took its revenge by stealing from her cheeks the color and round young curves. The old people noted this, and grieved over it, and redoubled their furtive efforts to amuse her. Lydia wept at night over the struggle, but succeeded, after a time, in cultivating a cheery lightness of manner that deceived and relieved her grandparents. All through the spring and summer they grew more and more happily reassured; and all the time, under the restraint which she had put upon herself, the fire in Lydia’s heart gathered heat.
    At last, with the next coming of the fall, and the going of the birds, and the aching unrest which troubles the blood when the days grow short and chill with the diminishing year, Lydia could bear it no longer. She [Page 268] cried out to them one day, with a sudden storm of tears, that she must go away; that they must let her go for a little while, to come back to Stony-Lonesome in the spring. The poor little house of cards which the old people had been building all summer came straightway to the ground in piteous ruin.
    John Cassidy said nothing. The look upon his face cut Lydia to the heart, but she hardened herself to meet it. It had been his rule, in bringing the girl up, to cross her wishes but rarely, and then with a finality that left no more to say. Now he shrank from entering into a direct conflict with her will. That his positive command would keep her at home, at least for the present, he knew; but he feared the ultimate result. With haggard eyes he gazed at Lydia for a few moments; then got up and went out. His wife set herself despairingly, with tears, and [Page 269] tender entreaties, and arguments which Lydia had already threshed over and over in her own mind, to turn the girl from her purpose. But Lydia was now in the full torrent of reaction from her long self-control, and neither argument nor entreaty could touch her. She fled to her own room, her handkerchief reduced to a wet and crumpled ball, her eyes red and angry. Throwing herself on her face upon the bed, she tried hard to fix her mind on such details as what clothes she would take with her and what time she would get away. She thought and thought, but her grandfather’s haggard eyes kept thrusting themselves between her and her plans, till she sprang up and set herself feverishly to an examination of her wardrobe.
    Down-stairs Mrs. Cassidy sat rocking to and fro, dropping hot tears upon the gray woolen sock which she was knitting. In her [Page 270] heart was a dark, half-realized phantom of a fear that her husband, in his anger, might do something dreadful to Lydia. She remembered that sudden, awful threat which had been wrung from him; and though she had lived with him these forty years, she did not even yet know the tenderness of his rugged heart. She trembled, and waited for what might happen.
    John Cassidy came in, an hour later, and got his coat. He had harnessed up his old driving horse, and was going in to the Corners,—“to do an arr’nd,” he said, in answer to his wife’s query. In fact, he felt that he would have to get away from Stony-Lonesome in order to think clearly. He was bewildered by the problem which confronted him. But it was an unheard-of thing for him to go in to the Corners without taking Lydia alone. The girl watched him from the window as the wagon [Page 271] went jolting down the lane, and read his bitterest rebuke in this solitary departure. It made her feel as if she were suddenly thrust out of his life. A keen foretaste of homesickness came over her.
    As John Cassidy, with bent head and hands that scarcely felt the reins they held, moved along the quiet country road, his thoughts fell over one another in harassing confusion. At last however, a definite purpose began to take shape. What if he should—quietly kill himself? If he were to throw himself from the wagon over some steep bank, on the way home that night, the world, or at least Brine Settlement, would call it an accident. And then Lydia would never have the heart to leave her widowed grandmother alone. John Cassidy shook at the thought, for he was a religious man, of the straitest sect of the Baptists. But after all, what, to him, was his own [Page 272] soul compared with Lydia’s? He would take hell itself gladly, if thereby he might pluck Lydia from the brink. By the time he approached the Corners he had about made up his mind. He was planning the details minutely; and while this awful purpose, this incomparable heroism, was revolving in his brain, passers-by saw only a gray and weary-looking man bent over the reins, his eyes so fixed upon his horse’s head that he hardly returned their salutations.
    Still scrutinizing the dread burden in his heart, he went as usual to the post-office, and then to the village grocery for a bag of “feed.” He tested the feed as critically, and questioned the price as frugally (gaining a few cents of discount because of a musty spot in the bag), as if he were just going home to fodder the cattle and make a hearty meal of buckwheat cakes. As he passed out of [Page 273] the shop, between a pile of codfish on one side and a dark-streaked molasses hogshead on the other, one of the group of men who occupied the counters and biscuit-boxes remarked to him, “I hear Lyddy’s talkin’ of goin’ to Bawston this winter!”
    John Cassidy glared blankly at the speaker, and went on without replying. When he was out of earshot a buzz of talk arose, and the old unhappy story of Lydia’s mother was repeated, with many rustic embellishments.
    But of the question and the questioner John Cassidy thought not at all. Just as he was getting into the wagon a new idea flashed upon his mind, and at once his whole plan fell to pieces. It occurred to him that if he were gone Lydia would soon coax her grandmother away to Boston. The cold sweat came out upon his forehead, as he saw how near he had [Page 274] been to throwing away his own soul, while, in the very act, thrusting Lydia onward to a swifter ruin.
    As he drove slowly along out of the village and into the wide, twilight country, his head drooped lower over the reins. It was characteristic of the measureless unselfishness of the man that now, though having, as he truly believed, just escaped with his soul, he was not glad. His brain lay dumb as a log in the blackness of dejection.
    The country road was winding and variable, with here a swampy hollow and there a rocky steep. At last the moon came up, red, full, and distorted, and stared John Cassidy in the face. The jogging horse, the lean, high wagon, and the bent form on the seat cast grotesquely dancing shadows behind them. The naked stumps and rampikes cast other shadows, which pointed straight at John Cassidy in solemn stillness and with [Page 275] strange, unanimous meaning. The wagon reached a spot where the road was narrow, with a little bridge and a steep bank on one side. John Cassidy’s face lit up. He stopped the horse, and looked down at the confusion of stones some six or eight feet below, with a rivulet prattling thinly just beyond them.
    “If I kind of drop myself over there,” said he, meditatively, “I ain’t goin’ to run no great resk o’ killin’ myself. No, sir! It’ll break an arm or a leg, maybe, or put a shoulder out o’ j’int,—enough to lay me up, that’s all. With her grandfather a cripple,”—here he winced, and looked around as if some one else had spoken the hated word in his ear,—“with me a cripple, I say,” he repeated, obstinately, “Lydia couldn’t never think of goin’ away.”
    He got out of the wagon, told the horse to go home, and struck him [Page 276] lightly with the whip. The animal looked around in wonder, and then obediently set forward, leaving his master standing by the roadside in the uncertain light.
    “Even if I kin hold her back a year or so,” mused John Cassidy, still looking down at the stones, “it’s worth the while. She’ll have sense, will Lydia, when she gits a little older. I wonder, now, if Job’ll git the potatoes in all right ’thout my help, an’ not mix the upland crop with them from the wet medder field?”
    Now that he saw his way clear to the rescue of Lydia, the farmer’s natural anxieties about the harvest again seized upon John Cassidy’s mind; but only for an instant; the next he let himself topple over the bank, half-turning back as he fell and clutching nervously at a wayside bush. The bush gave way at once, and he dropped heavily among the [Page 277] stones. In an instant he was on his feet again, staring around in a dazed way, and wondering how it was that he could stand up. Jumping to the conclusion that the fall had done him no injury, he made a start as if to climb back and try it again. But his knees failed, and he ground his teeth with a sudden pervading anguish, while the red moon seemed to reel and totter amid the tree-tops. Then consciousness faded from his brain.

    Meanwhile the old horse had jogged faithfully homeward. The reins, slipping from the dashboard, trailed along the ground, till the horse turned in at the lane of Stony-Lonesome. Just then they caught and held on a projecting root, and the horse at once stopped. Half an hour later Job came down the lane to fetch water from the spring, and found the horse standing there patiently [Page 278] with the empty wagon behind him.
    Job saw at once that something serious had happened. He ran perhaps a hundred yards along the road; then, realizing that he would be likely to need help, he sped back to the house for Lydia. Fearing to alarm Mrs. Cassidy, he asked the girl to take a step down the lane with him, it being such an “uncommon fine night.” She was on the point of an abrupt refusal, when she caught the grave and anxious meaning in his eyes.
    “All right, Job,” said she, with a sudden vague apprehension. “I’ll git my hat an’ come right along.”
    She ran after the man, and overtook him halfway down the lane. “What’s the matter?” she asked, breathlessly.
    Job pointed to the horse and empty wagon, plainly visible a few rods below [Page 279].
    “Where is he?” she gasped, clutching at Job’s arm.
    “Back along the road somewheres, likely,” said Job. “I thought as how I might need help to lift him.”
    Lydia tried to question further, but the voice died in her aching throat, and she hurried on beside the man in stunned silence. A succession of dreadful forebodings flashed through her mind. She kept repeating to herself that she had killed her grandfather. Then they came to the wagon. Job turned the horse. She climbed to the wagon-seat, and sat with her fingers twisting and untwisting, as Job drove rapidly back along the road to the Corners.
    The moon was higher and whiter now, and every object along the roadside stood out sharply. They came to the little bridge. They stopped, and cried out as with one voice when they saw John Cassidy’s whip lying in the road. Then they [Page 280] sprang out of the wagon, and Lydia was down the bank in an instant, she knew not how. Kneeling in the edge of the stream, which she noticed not at all, she raised her grandfather’s bleeding face to her bosom.
    “Oh, he’s alive! He breathes!” she cried in a high, breaking voice to Job, who was stooping over her.
    When the old man had been carried home and laid in his own bed, he was still unconscious. Mrs. Cassidy, white and stern and tearless, took everything out of Lydia’s hands, and astonished the girl by her swift energy and readiness. After what seemed weeks of waiting the doctor came. Having found a broken shoulder, he set it, and then announced that unless there was concussion of the brain the patient would almost certainly recover, though but slowly. Upon this Mrs. Cassidy went into another room, where she could not hear her husband’s heavy [Page 281] breathing, and threw her apron over her face.
    She had sat there for perhaps half an hour, when Lydia stole in to try and comfort her; but she turned on the girl bitterly. She was no longer the doting grandmother, but the grief-stricken wife, fierce at the pain which Lydia had caused her husband. By that deep intuition which may at times, we know not how, illumine a woman’s heart, she saw that Lydia had been in some way the cause of the accident. And Lydia saw it, too, though there appeared to be no reasonable ground for such a conclusion. A few bitter words from the resentful woman, and Lydia also knew what had been so tenderly hidden from her,—the story of her mother’s ruin. With bowed head and bleeding heart she crept back to her grandfather’s bed, and crouched down beside it with her face buried in the quilt [Page 282].
    For days John Cassidy’s life hung upon a thread. He was delirious most of the time, and seeing Lydia’s bright head so continually hanging over his pillow, his wanderings for the most part concerned themselves with her. From scattered phrases of his delirium and half-formed mutterings and appeals which wrung her soul, Lydia learned how little of accident there had been in the stroke which had overthrown her grandfather.
    This knowledge, uncovering to her as it did the deeps of his devotion, pierced her with a pang that was not all pain. The remorseful anguish of it was lightened by the thought of such love enfolding her. This thought was like balm to the shame which had burned her spirit ever since that cruel revelation of her grandmother’s. Under the scorching experiences of those grievous days Lydia’s nature ripened.
    On an afternoon of Indian summer [Page 283], one of those days when winter, though close at hand, seems to have fallen asleep and forgotten his purpose, Lydia stood again by the bars with her two pails of spring water. She gazed across the wide country to the mysterious notch in the hills. The patch of sky, melting in an indescribable violet haze, looked nearer than ever before, but it drew her not as before. She looked at it with a sort of pensive tenderness, the indulgence which one gives to a dream outgrown. Then she went back to the house, and presently up to her grandfather’s bedside.
    As she leaned over him, John Cassidy opened sane eyes and looked at her. The sickness had left his brain. Lydia gave a little sob of joy, fell on her knees, and dropped her face to the pillow beside his.
    “Grandfather,” she said, “I don’t want any more to go away. I am going to live here always [Page 284].”
    The tone, as much as the words, contented him. With a smile he moved his lips against her face for a moment, and then fell softly into a healing sleep [Page 285].