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muscles accustomed to their task. It
would be three months before Elsie
could -walk without crutches.
During the days that followed set
back after set-back occurred. Elsie
was delicate, and often the doctor,
seated at her bedside, wondered
whether she would ever pull through
to strength again. He himself was
a tower of strength in those days.
Madge, devoted to her sister, never
theless could not restrain all her ad
mirers. They called, they invited her
to drive and she found the relaxa
tion from 'the strain of watching
grateful. Gradually, too, she began
to feel the relief at young society
after that of the doctor. And she
began to feel, too, that a life with
him would be a difficult one. -
There was twenty-five years be
tween their ages. Madge was gay,
touched with all the zest of youth.
None knew of her engagement to the
doctor, who, seated in the room with
Elsie, watched his patient slowly
come back to strength. He must
have known in those days that Madge
was slipping away from him. His
manner grew more formal, but it was
Madge lived in terror of the day
wheu the doctor would claim her.
She loved no one else, but she knew
that she did not love him. It was
respect, not love. She shed many
tears in that time. The doctor never
chided her, never said anything.
At last the day came when Elsie
could walk. For the first time since
childhood she walked without
crutches. And Madge knew that the
time had arrived when her promise
must be redeemed.
She came into the room. Elsie had
just gone out into the sunlight. She
basked in it, she seemed to absorb its
golden tints into her cheeks; her
frame grew vigorous. They saw her
outside the window. i
"Robert, when do you want me?'1 '
The doctor looked at her gravely. I
"Are you sure, my dear?" he asked.
She nodded and kissed his cheek.
"Next month, Robert?" she asked.
He took her in his arms and look
ed gravely into her face. "Next
month, then," he answered.
But that evening she sobbed out
her sorrow in her sister's arms.
"I don't love him, Elsie," she wept
"I love no one. I don't feel able to
love. It was his strength, his good
ness that fascinated me. And now I
must pay the price.''
"For me? asked Elsie, W4th quiv
"Yes, dear, and I would pay it a
"But he must know. It would
break his heart if he married you
when you did not care for him."
"No, he shall never know," said
Madge, and, rising, she passed softly
out of the room.
On the next- afternoon Elsie and
Doctor Forman were seated together
in the Invalid's room.
"We are to be married next month,"
said Robert Forman. "Madge has
"Yes," answered the girl.
, She looked at Forman, and then
she knew that she must strike to in
flict the blow.
"Robert," she said, laying her hand
on his.Vare you sure you love
The doctor's grave eyes were fixed
on hers. "Why, do you ask that?"
he asked in turn.
"Because 0, Robert, she does not
love you. There, now I have told you..
She is willing to marry you so that
you shall never be hurt. She -would
never have let you know. But she
does not love you."
The doctor looked at her very
queerly. "I have suspected it," he
""But. Robert 0, what will you
think of her?"
"I think she is honorable and
good," he answered gently. "I shall
"And you will be friends still? You
will often come here?"
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