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The Lilac Girl by Ralph Henry Barbour

Part 3 out of 3

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"Yes, I think he's honest," said Eve, thoughtfully, "but as to

"Aren't they the same?"

"Perhaps they are," answered Eve, doubtfully. She was silent for a
moment, possibly considering the question. Then she looked across at the
Doctor with a little flush in her cheeks. "You see," she said, "he--he's
asked me to marry him."

The Doctor rolled his cane under his palms and nodded his head slowly
several times. Eve waited. At last--

"You don't seem much surprised," she said, questioningly.

"Surprised? No. I'd have been surprised if he hadn't asked you to marry
him, my dear. It's what I'd have done in his place."

"And I'd have accepted you," said Eve with a little laugh.

"And him?" asked the Doctor.

Eve was silent, looking across the garden. Finally she shrugged her
slim shoulders and sighed.

"I don't know," she said, frankly.

"Well," began the Doctor, slowly and judicially. Then he stopped,
wondering what he had started to say.

"Why should I?" challenged Eve, a trifle querulously.

"You shouldn't, unless you feel that you want to."

"But I don't know whether I want to--or don't want to."

The Doctor studied her face a moment, until her eyes dropped and the
flush deepened in her cheeks. Unseen of her, he smiled.

"Take plenty of time to find out," said the Doctor, softly and kindly.
"Don't marry him until you are sure that you can't be happy without him,
my dear. Don't try it as an experiment. That's what makes unhappy
marriages; at least, that's one thing. There are others too numerous to
mention. There's just one reason why a man and a woman should join
themselves together in matrimony, and that is love, the love that the
poets sing and the rest of us poke fun at, the love that is the nearest
thing to Heaven we find on earth." The Doctor sat silent a moment,
looking past the girl's grave face into the green blur of the garden.
Then he stirred, sighed, and looked at his watch. "Well, well, I must be
on my way," he said briskly. "I'm a vastly busy old man."

"But, Doctor, you haven't helped me a bit to decide," she said,

"I can't, my dear. No one can. And, what's more, you don't want me to."

"Why, Doctor, I"--she began. Then she dropped her eyes and a little
smile trembled at her lips. "How do you know?" she asked.

"I know a few things yet, Miss Eve," he chuckled, picking up his old
black leather bag.

"Just a moment, please," begged Eve. "Did he ever tell you that he
wanted me to take some of Cousin Edward's money?"

"M'm, yes, he did tell me that," responded the Doctor cautiously. "But
that's nothing against him."

"N-no, I know it isn't. And he said--says he will have his way."

The Doctor settled his hat and gripped his stick.

"Then I guess he will. He looks that kind of a man."

"He never will," said Eve, firmly, "never!"

"Unless," chuckled the Doctor, "you marry him." He waved his cane and
strode away toward the gate. "How about that?" he called back over the

Eve made no answer. She was thinking very busily. "Unless I marry him!"
she repeated, somewhat blankly, staring at the turquoise ring which she
was slipping around and around on her finger. The moments passed. A
frown crept into her forehead and grew there, dark and threatening,
under the warm shadow of her hair. "And so that's it," she thought
bitterly and angrily. "That's what it means. That's why he's acted so
strangely since--since he asked me to marry him. It's just a trick to
get his own way. He'd marry me as a sop to his conscience. It's just the
money, after all. Oh, I wish--I wish Cousin Edward had never had any

She sat there a long time, while the shadows shortened and the birds
grew silent, one by one, and the noonday hush fell over the old garden;
sat there until Miss Mullett came to the kitchen door and summoned her
to luncheon.


Wade rolled a vest into a tight wad and tucked it into a corner of the
till. Then he glanced around the sitting-room, saw nothing else to pack,
and softly dropped the lid. That done he sat down on it and relighted
his pipe.

It was two days since Eve and the Doctor had talked under the cedars,
one day since Wade had received her note. He had not seen her since. She
hadn't asked him not to, but Wade had stereotyped ideas as to the proper
conduct of a rejected suitor, and he intended to live up to them. Of
course he would call in the morning and say good bye.

He felt no resentment against Eve, although her note would have supplied
sufficient excuse. He didn't quite know what he did feel. He had striven
the evening before to diagnose his condition, with the result that he
had decided that his heart was not broken, although there was a
peculiar dull aching sensation there that he fancied was destined to
grow worse before it got better. So far, what seemed to trouble him most
was leaving the cottage and Eden Village. He had grown very fond of
both. Already they seemed far more like home to him than Craig's Camp or
any place he had known. There had been nothing in that brief,
unsatisfactory note intimating that he was expected to leave Eden
Village, but he was quite sure that his departure would be the best
thing for all concerned. The Doctor, to whom he had confided his plan,
had thought differently, and had begged him to wait and see if things
didn't change. The Doctor was a mighty good sort, but--well, he hadn't
read Eve's note!

He wasn't leaving Eden Village for good and all. There was comfort in
that thought. Some day, probably next summer, he would come back. By
that time he would have gotten over it in all probability. Until such
time Mr. Zenas Prout and Zephania, in fact the whole Prout family, there
to take care of the cottage. Zephania was to sweep it once a month from
top to bottom. Wade smiled. He hadn't suggested such care as that, but
Zephania had insisted. Zephania, he reflected with a feeling of
gratitude, had been rather cut up about his departure.

Of course it was nobody's fault but his own. He had deliberately fallen
in love, scorning consequences. Now he was staring at the consequences
and didn't like their looks. Thank Heaven, he was a worker, and there
was plenty of work to do. Whitehead and the others out there would be
surprised to see him coming into camp again so soon. Well, that was
nothing. Perhaps, too, it was just as well he was going back early.
There was the new shaft-house to get up, and the sooner that was ready
the sooner they could work the new lead. He raised his head, conscious
of a disturbing factor, and then arose and closed the door into the
hall. Closing the door muffled the strains that floated down from
upstairs, where Zephania, oppressed, but defiant of sorrow, was singing:

"'My days are gliding swiftly by,
And I, a pilgrim stranger,
Would not detain them as they fly!
Those hours of toil and danger.'"

After awhile, his pipe having gone out again from neglect, he strapped
and locked the trunk, glanced at his watch and took up his hat. He
passed out through the immaculate kitchen, odorous of soapsuds and
sunlight, and down through the orchard, which Zenas Third with his saw
and shears had converted from a neglected and scrubby riot into a spruce
and orderly parade. Unconsciously his feet led him over the same course
he had taken on that first walk of his, which ended in an unintentional
and disconcerting visit to The Cedars. As before, he followed the brook,
much less a brook now than then by reason of the summer drought, and
speculated as to the presence of fish therein. He had intended all along
to stroll down here some day and try for sunfish, but he had never done
it. Well, that was one of several dreamed-of things which had not come
to pass.

The meadow grass had grown tall and heavy, and was touched with gold
and russet where the afternoon sunlight slanted across it. The birds
flew up at his approach and scattered in darts and circles. To-day when
he reached the fence he didn't turn aside toward the road, but climbed
over and found an open space on the side of the little hill under the
trees, and threw himself down there to smoke his pipe and stare back
across the meadow. It was very still in the woods, with only the sleepy
chirp of a bird or rustling of a squirrel to be heard, but from
somewhere in the hot glare of the afternoon came the rasping of the
first locust.

Zephania served supper that evening with chastened mien, and for once
she neglected to sing.

"You do think you'll come back, don't you, Mr. Herrick?" she asked.

"Why, yes, Zephania, I expect to. Do you want me to?"

"Oh, yes, sir! We all want you to. Father says if there was more
gentlemen like you here, Eden Village would perk right up. And Zenas
says you and he haven't done nearly all the fishing you were going to."

"No, I suppose not. Tell him we'll try again next summer. I'm leaving my
tackle here, tell him, so as I will be sure to come back."

"Yes, sir." Zephania hesitated, half-way to the door. Finally, "It's
been awful nice for me, Mr. Herrick," she said. "I've had just the best
summer I ever did have."

"Why, you've had a lot of hard work," said Wade. "Is that what you call

"Yes, sir, but it ain't been very hard. I like to work. It seems as
though the harder I work the happier I am, Mr. Herrick."

"Really? Well, now, I reckon that's the way with me, Zephania, come to
think about it. I suppose keeping busy at something you like doing comes
just as near to spelling happiness as anything can, eh?"

"Yes sir."

"By the way, Zephania, do you wear a hat?"

"Why, yes, sir, of course!"

"Oh! Well, I didn't know; I never saw you with one on. How would you
like me to send you a hatpin, then, with a nice little gold nugget for a

"I'd love it! But--but what is a nugget, Mr. Herrick?"

"Oh, a little--a little lump."

"Do you mean real gold?" asked Zephania, awedly.

"Yes, real gold, virgin gold, just as it comes out of the ground, you

"Wouldn't it be worth a good deal, though?" asked Zephania, doubtfully.

"Oh, a few dollars; ten or fifteen. Why?"

"I'd almost be afraid of losing it, Mr. Herrick. Would you please see
that it wasn't a very big nug--nug--"

"Nugget'? All right," he laughed. "I'll see that it's only about as big
as your thumbnail."

"Thank you, sir; I'd think a great deal of it. Will you have some more

"No, no more tea, Zephania. No more anything. You may take the things

Later in the evening came Doctor Crimmins, very regretful and full of
arguments in favor of postponing action. When twilight passed they went
out onto the porch with their pipes and glasses. They talked as friends
talk on the eve of parting, often of trivial things, with long pauses
between. The moon came up over the tree tops, round and full, and
flooded the garden with silver.

"'The moon, serene in glory, mounts the sky,'" murmured the Doctor.
"'The wandering moon'--how does it go? I'm thinking of some lines of
Milton's. Let me see; ah!"

"'The wandering moon,
Riding near her highest noon,
Like one that has been led astray
Through the heaven's wide pathless way.'"

Later, when the lights of the village had disappeared one by one under
the tranquil elms, the Doctor returned to the attack.

"Take another week to think it over, Herrick," he urged. "Who knows what
may happen in a week, eh? Women's minds have been known to change before
this, my friend."

"Hers won't," answered Wade, convincedly. "Her note left little doubt
as to that."

"But don't you think you ought to see her again?"

"Yes, I shall call in the morning to say good-by."

"H'm, yes," muttered the other, doubtfully. "I know what such a call is
like. You go into the parlor and Miss Eve and Miss Mullett come in
together, and you all talk a lot of pasty foolishness for five minutes
and then you shake hands and leave. That doesn't help any. See her alone
if only for a minute, Herrick; give yourselves a chance; bless my soul,
lad, don't you realize that you can't risk spoiling two lives for the
want of a moment's determination? If it's pride, put it in your pocket!"

"I'd do anything," replied Wade, with a little laugh, "if I thought it
could do any good. The fact is, Doctor, I'm pretty certain that the
other fellow is too strong for me."

"The other fellow! I don't believe there is or has been another fellow!
I'd bet my bottom dollar that you two young folks care for each other.
You've gone and made a mess of things between you, and damned if I don't
think it's my duty to meddle!"

"Please don't," said Wade. "It's good of you to want to help,
but--what's the use of talking about it? Miss Walton knows her own

"She didn't a couple of days ago," said the Doctor, gruffly. "She asked
my advice about you. I told her to take you if she wanted you, and she
said she didn't know whether she did or didn't."

"She seems to have found out since then," said Wade, dryly.

"It must have been sudden, then. Look here, was there any quarrel? Any

"None. I haven't spoken to her since Saturday night."

"Well, it beats me," said the Doctor, leaning over to knock the ashes
from his pipe. "I'm plumb certain she cares for you, and just as certain
that you're making a mistake by running away." He stood up and scowled
fiercely at the moon. "Well, I must be off. I'll see you to-morrow.
You're not going until afternoon, you said?"

"I leave here about two," said Wade. "I shall spend to-morrow night in
Boston and take a morning train west."

"Well, you know my opinion," the Doctor growled. "Sleep on it; think it
over again. Good night."

After the Doctor had gone Wade sat for a while longer on the porch. He
didn't feel the least bit sleepy, and the Doctor had shaken his
determination in spite of himself. Supposing, after all--then he shook
his head and sighed. There was the note. He fumbled in his pocket and
found it and looked at it in the moonlight. There was no use in
imagining things when that sheet of paper stared him in the face. He
strove to reread the message, but the light was too faint. He folded it
again, started to drop it back in his pocket, hesitated, and then tore
it savagely into tiny bits and tossed it over the side of the porch. It
was as though he had destroyed a malign influence, for, even as the
little white fragments went floating down into the shadow, a new hope
crept into his heart, and he went upstairs, arguing this way and that in
a sudden fever of mental energy. In the bedroom there was no need to
light his lamp, and he started to undress in the broad path of moonlight
that flooded the little chamber. But after he had thrown his coat aside
he forgot to go on with the process, and after many minutes he found
himself leaning on the sill of the open window staring at the moon.

"Bed?" he muttered, in a strange excitement. "Why should I go to bed?
I'm not sleepy. I'm moon-struck, probably. I'm full of crazy thoughts
and fancies. I don't want to sleep, I want to walk--and think. I want to
be out of doors."

He found his way down the stairs, unmindful of the fact that he had left
his coat behind, and stepped out into the warm fragrant night. The road
was a dark cavern, splotched with silver. He turned away from it,
seeking the open spaces of the garden, his shadow stalking beside him,
purple-black in the moonlight. The air scarcely moved.

The world was hushed and heavy with sleep. Once, as he passed under the
drooping branches of a tree, a bird stirred in its nest with a sleepy
_cheep_. He made his way around the house at the back, absentmindedly
feeling for his coat pocket and his pipe. He had left it upstairs, but
no matter. Why should one want to defile such a night as this with
tobacco-smoke, anyway? He stopped once under a pear-tree and wondered
why his pulse raced so.

"What's the matter with me?" he murmured. "Am I going to be sick? Or am
I just plain locoed by that moon? Well!"

He sighed, laughed softly at himself, and went on. He was in the shade
now, but beyond him was a moonlit space where stood the little arched
gateway in the hedge. He went toward it, his footsteps making scant
sound on the soft turf; reached it; passed--but no, he didn't pass
through just then. Instead he stopped suddenly, drew in his breath and
stared wonderingly into the startled face confronting him.


For a little time, perhaps as long as it took his heart to pound thrice
in wild tumult, they confronted each other in silence. Then--"Eve!" he
cried, softly; and--

"You!" she whispered.

Again a silence, in which he could have sworn that he heard his heart
beating with gladness and the stars singing in the heavens.

"I--I wasn't sleepy," she said, breathlessly.

"Nor I. I didn't want to sleep. I wanted"--he stepped through the
gateway and seized the hand that lay against her breast--"you."

"Please!" she cried, straining away at the length of her slender arm.
"You mustn't! You got my note!"

"And tore it to fragments--an hour since! I don't remember a word of

"But I meant it!"

"You didn't!"

"Let me go, please; I ought not to be here; I don't want to stay here."

"You must stay until--but you're trembling!" He dropped her hand and
stood back contritely. "Have I scared you?"

"Yes.... I don't know.... Good night."

She turned, but didn't go. The moonlight enfolded her slim form with
white radiance and danced in and out of her soft hair. Wade drew a deep

"Will you listen a moment to me, please?" he asked, calmly.

She bowed her head without turning.

"You said in your note that you did not care to be made a convenience
of. What did that mean, please?"

"You know!"

"But I don't. You must tell me."

"I don't wish to. Why do you try to pretend with me?" she asked with a
flash of scorn.

"Pretend! Good Lord, is this pretense? What do you mean? Is it pretense
to be so madly in love with you that--that yesterday and to-day
have"--he caught himself up. "You must tell me," he said, quietly.

"I meant that I would not marry you to salve your conscience." She
turned and faced him, her head back scornfully. "You thought some of
that money should be mine and because I refused to take it you--you
tried to trick me! You pretended you--cared for me. Don't I understand?
You threatened one day to have your way, and you thought I was so--so
simple that I wouldn't guess."

"You mean," he asked, incredulously, "that you think I want to marry you
just so I can--can restore that money to you?"

"Yes," she answered, defiantly. But there was a wavering note in the
word, as though she had begun to doubt. He was silent a moment. Then--

"But if I told you--convinced you that you were wrong? What then?"

There was no answer. She had turned her head away and stood as though
poised for flight, one little clenched hand hanging at her side and
gleaming like marble. He went toward her slowly across the few yards of
turf. She heard him coming and began to tremble again. She wanted to
run, but felt powerless to move. Then he was speaking to her and she
felt his breath on her cheek.

"Eve, dear, such a thought never came to me. Won't you believe that,
please? I care nothing about Ed's money. If you like I'll never touch a
cent of it. All I want on this earth is just you."

His arms went around her. She never stirred, save for the tremors that
shook her as a breeze shakes a reed.

"Am I frightening you still?" he whispered. "I don't want to do that. I
only want to make you happy, dear, and, oh, I'd try very hard if you'd
let me. Won't you, Eve?"

There was no answer. He held her very-lightly there with arms that ached
to strain her close against his fast-beating heart. After a moment she
asked, tremulously:

"You tore up--the note?"

"Yes," he answered. He felt a sigh quiver through her.

"I'm glad," she whispered.

Of a sudden she struggled free, pushing him away with her outstretched

"You must stand there," she said, in laughing whispers. She crossed her
hands, palms out, above her forehead to keep the moonlight from her
eyes. "Now, sir, answer me truthfully. You didn't--do that, what I


"And you won't say anything more about having your way?"

"No," he answered, with a happy laugh.

"And you won't ever even want it?"


"And you--like me?"

"Like you! I--"

"Wait! Stay just where you are, please, Mr. Herrick."

"Mr. Herrick?"

"Well,--I haven't learnt any other name."

"But you know it!"

"No," she fibbed, with a soft laugh. "Anyhow--well, so far you've passed
the examination beautifully. Is there--is there anything more you have
to say for yourself before sentence is passed?"

"Yes," he answered. "I came through the gate in the hedge." He went
forward and dropped on his knee. "And I ask you to be my wife."

"Who told you?" she gasped, striving to recover the hand he had seized

"Miss Mullett."

"Traitress!" Then she laughed. "That was my secret. But I know yours."

"Mine? You mean--"

"Yes, about the name of your mine. I saw it on an envelope in the parlor
the other night. I don't see why you didn't want me to know. I'm sure I
think it was very sweet of Edward to name the mine after me." She looked
down at him mischievously. He got to his feet, still holding her
hands--he had captured both now--and looked down at them as they lay in

"It wasn't Ed who--I mean it wasn't exactly his idea," he said.

"You mean that it was yours?"

"Well, yes, it was."

"Indeed? But I suppose it was named after some one?"


"Another Evelyn, then," she said coldly.

"No--that is--well, only in a way."

"Let go of my hands, please."


"Very well. What was she like, this other Evelyn?"

"Like--like you, dearest."

"Oh, really!"

"Listen, Eve; do you remember once five years ago when a train stopped
at the top of the Saddle Pass out in Colorado? There was a hot-box. It
was twilight in the valleys, but up there it was still half daylight and
half starlight. A little way off, in the shadow of the rocks, there was
a camp-fire burning."

"Yes, I remember," she answered softly. "I thought we had been held up
by train-robbers and I went out to the back platform to see. I didn't
say anything to papa, because it might have scared him, you know."

"Of course," said Wade, with a smile.

"And so I went out and saw the track stretching back down the hill, with
the starlight gleaming on the rails, and--"

"And the mountains in the west all purple against the sky."

"Yes. And there was a breeze blowing and it was chilly out there. So I
was going back into the car when a dreadful-looking man appeared, oh,
a--a fearsome-looking man, really!"

"Was he?" asked Wade, somewhat lamely.

"Oh, yes! And I thought, of course, he was a robber or a highwayman or

"And--he wasn't?" asked Wade, eagerly.

"No." She shook her head. "No, he was something much worse."

"Oh! What?"

"He was a deceiver, a--a Don Juan. He made love to me and made me
promise never to forget him, and he promised to come and get me some
day. That was five years ago. Why didn't you come?"

"Eve! Then--you knew? You've known all along?"

She fell to laughing, swaying away from him in the moonlight.

"Why didn't you tell me?" he asked, wonderingly.

"Why didn't you ask me? Yes, I knew from the moment I peeked in your
window that day."

"Think of that! And I was sure you didn't remember at all. And now,
after all that time, I've got you again, dear! It's wonderful!"

"Not so fast, please," she said, sternly. "You forgot me once--"

"I never forgot you."

"And you may do it again."

"I didn't forget you, dear. I still have that lilac you threw me. I--"

"You mean the one I dropped?" she asked, innocently.

"It was a week later that we found gold, Eve, and I named the mine for
you. I worked hard that year, and--well, I'll be honest; I didn't forget
you; you were always a sort of vision of loveliness in my memory;
but--there was so much to do--and--"

"And you changed your mind. I see. And you never thought of poor me,
waiting for you all these years!"

"I guess you forgot me quick enough," said Wade, ruefully. "When that
other fellow came along, I mean."

"Stupid!" she whispered. "That was you."


"Yes, the you I met out there on the mountain, the you that made love to
me and set my silly little girl's heart a-fluttering. Don't you think
now it was wicked of you? Why, Wade--oh!"

"That's my name," he laughed.

"It's a funny name, isn't it?" she murmured, shyly.

"I suppose it is."

"But I like it. Oh, dear, I must go! It must be midnight!"

"No, only twenty minutes of," he answered, holding his watch to the
light. "Don't go yet. There's so much I want to say!"

"To-morrow," she answered, smiling up at him. "Do you know that you're
still holding my hands?"

"I don't know what I know," he answered, softly. "Only that I love you
and that I'm the happiest man alive."

"Are you? Why?"

"Because you're going to marry me."

"I haven't said so," she objected.

"But you're going to?"


"No, to-night--surely."



"Am I?" she sighed. "We-ell--do you want me to?"

"Yes," he answered, tremulously. He drew her to him, unresistingly. The
moon made silver pools of her eyes. Her mouth, slightly parted, was like
a crimson rosebud.

"Eve!" he whispered, hoarsely.

Her eyes closed and her head dropped happily back against his arm. The
moonlight was gone now from her face.

Ages later--or was it only a few moments?--they were standing apart
again, hands still linked, looking at each other across the little space
of magic light.

"I must go now," she said softly. "Good night."

"Please, not yet!"

"But think of the time! Besides, it's quite--quite awful, anyway!
Suppose Carrie heard of it!"

"Let her! You're mine, aren't you?"

"Good night."

"Aren't you?"

"Every little bit of me, dear, for ever and ever," she answered.

They said good night again a few minutes later and a little nearer the
house. And again after that.

At a quarter to one Wade came to himself after a fashion at the end of
the village street, smiling insanely at a white gate-post. With a happy
sigh he turned homeward, his hands in his pockets, his head thrown back,
and his lips pursed for a tune that forgot to come. A few steps brought
him opposite the Doctor's house and the imp of mischief whispered in his
ear. Wade laughed aloud. Then he crossed the street under the dark
canopy of the elms and-pulled the office bell till it jangled wildly. A
head came out of a window above.

"What's wanted?" asked the Doctor's sleepy voice. "Who is it?"

"It's Herrick. Come down, please."

After a moment the key turned and the Doctor, arrayed in a vast figured
dressing-gown stood in the open door.

"Is it you?" he asked. "What's wrong? Who's ill"?"

"No one's ill, Doctor," said Herrick. "I just wanted to know if you had
any remedy for happiness?"

Perhaps Wade's radiant, laughing face gave the Doctor his cue, for,
after studying it a moment, he asked, with a chuckle:

"Have you tried marriage?"

"No, but I'm going to. Oh, I'm not crazy, Doctor. I was out for a stroll
and thought I'd just drop by and tell you that I'd taken your advice
and had decided not to leave to-morrow."

"Humph; nor the next day, either, I guess! Lad, is it all right? Have
you seen her?"

"Yes, I've seen her and it's all right! Everything's all right! Look at
this world, Doctor. Did you ever see a more beautiful one? For Heaven's
sake reel off some poetry for me!"

"Go to bed," laughed the Doctor, "go to bed!"

"Bed!" scoffed Wade.

"H'm, you're right," said the Doctor. "Stay up and be mad as you can, my
lad. Bay to the moon! Sing under her window! Act the happy fool! Lord,
if I wasn't so old I'd come out and help you. Youth, youth! Now go away
before I hate you for it!"

"You couldn't hate anything, you old fraud," laughed Wade. "Go back to
bed if you won't sing or dance with me or recite verses. But first,
congratulations, please."

"My dear fellow," said the Doctor as he clasped Wade's hand, "you don't
need any one's good wishes, but I give mine just the same. It's good
news to me, the best of news."

"Thanks, Doctor. Good night. I'm off to bay the moon."

"Good night, good night!"

The Doctor stood for a moment at the door and watched him pass across
the strip of moonlight and become engulfed in the gloom of the elms.

"I wonder," he mused, "what he's done with his coat!" He chuckled as he
closed the door, and sighed as he locked it. Then, instead of returning
to the stairway, he passed into the study and walked across to the
book-shelves. You would have thought that he would have had difficulty
in finding What he wanted even in broad daylight in that confusion of
volumes. But he put his hand at once on what he sought and bore it to
the window where the moonlight shone. Bending closely, he turned the
pages, paused and read half-aloud to the silent room:

"'Oh, love, first love, so full of hope and truth,
A guileless maiden and a gentle youth.
Through arches of wreathed rose they take their way,
He the fresh Morning, she the better May,
'Twixt jocund hearts and voices jubilant.
And unseen gods that guard on either hand,
And blissful tears, and tender smiles that fall
On her dear head--great summer over all!"

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