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"No," she said, "they've gone for
the day to Mr. Newton's model farm.
I was going, but didn't."
"But you'd love it," he said. "It's
a wonderful place."
"I know," she" said, "but I had a
blow. And I don't love anything, or"
she couldn't help shooting a glance
from the corners of her eyes "or
anybody. Life," she finished, with the
conviction of one who has the most
of it to live, "is a hollow sham."
"Well," said he, "you needn't be
so proud. The world doesn't look the
same to me as it did yesterday." He
smiled a meful smile. "I, too, have
had a blow."
"Is that why your horse is in such
a lather? Did you jump on, and ride
you didn't care where, as fast as you
could? I did. It's funny we should
have gotten to the same place."
"Shall we take hands," Ryder sug
gested, "and weep? But I'm glad I
found you. It gives me some one to
think of besides myself."
"Since when," she asked, "have
you lacked some one to think of be
"Since the blow," he said.
She nodded with grave comprehen
sion. For Ryder's romance had never
been hidden under a bushel any more
than her own had. And she said:
"It's a kind of bond," said Ryder.
"Being lost is another," she said.
"And getting back to Aiken," said
he, "if we ever do, will be a third."
"Why try to go back?" said she.
"It seems that there's nothing in
Aiken for either of us. And besides,
we're going to get the laugh."
"Oh, I suppose so," said he
Here the young people shook each
other heartily by the hand. It is un
"And now," said Ryder, "if you'll
let me put you up, I'll shorten leath
ers, and we can set out for Aiken or
any other old place we can get to."
"It's beginning to get dark," said
Ryder. "I'm sure if you leave the
reins loose and kick Bellalre she will
find the way home; and you will be
there in time to save your people
"Do you think I am going to desert
you," she said, "just to save other
people anxiety? Won't you ride now,
and let me walk?"
Meanwhile the rain fell steadily,
and the night.
"I'd give something to be sure,"
said he, "that Bellaire knows the
"Would you? The wetter it gets
and the darker the better I like it."
"Soon," said he, "it will be so dark
that I can't see you. I shan't see you.
I shan't like that"
"And I shan't be able to see you.
But I shall know that you are .there,
and that I am safe. Safe from every
thing but the laughter. I like it to
be dark, because you can say things
that you don't like to say in the light.
Tell me, what have people said about
Mr. Wantley and me?"
"Just what they've said about Mrs.
Barr-Stokes and me," he answered.
She whistled. And he blushed in
"Young man," said Little Vincent,
"I propose a defensive alliance be
tween us two."
"Young girl," he answered, "it is
They shook hands.
"I shall pretend," she said, "that
it was you all along, and that the
Wantley episode was to make you
jealous. ... I am glad it's dark."
"It's going to be mighty obvious to
everybody," said Ryder, "that my
episode had a similar foundation."
Suddenly the sandy, unfamiliar
road turned into a long, straight road
of hard clay, a little slippery with the
rain, a road raised like a railroad em
bankment above swamps, a road
where the sun never shone because
of the trees that enclosed it in a tun
neL Bellaire lifted her head, so that
the steel clashed.
"Lovers' Lane," said Ryder,