forward excitedly. "And, upon my word, the minister and doctor

couples are still together. I wonder if they'll get as far as

the falls at Union? That would be an odd place to part, wouldn't

it--Union?" Stephen saw his opportunity, and seized it.

"There's a reason, Rose, why two logs go down stream better than

one, and get into less trouble. They make a wider path, create

more force and a better current. It's the same way with men and

women. Oh, Rose, there isn't a man in the world that's loved

you as long, or knows how to love you any better than I do.

You're just like a white birch sapling, and I'm a great, clumsy

fir tree; but if you'll only trust yourself to me, Rose, I'll

take you safely down river."

Stephen's big hand closed on Rose's little one she returned its

pressure softly and gave him the kiss that with her, as with him,

meant a promise for all the years to come. The truth and passion

in the man had broken the girl's bonds for the moment. Her

vision was clearer, and, realizing the treasures of love and

fidelity that were being offered her, she accepted them, half

unconscious that she was not returning them in kind. How is the

belle of two villages to learn that she should "thank Heaven,

fasting, for a good man's love"? And Stephen? He went home in

the dusk, not knowing whether his feet were touching the solid

earth or whether he was treading upon rainbows.

Rose's pink calico seemed to brush him as he walked in the path

that was wide enough only for one. His solitude was peopled

again when he fed the cattle, for Rose's face smiled at him from

the haymow; and when he strained the milk, Rose held the pans.

His nightly tasks over, he went out and took his favorite seat

under the apple tree. All was still, save for the crickets'

ceaseless chirp, the soft thud of an August sweeting dropping in

the grass, and the swish-swash of the water against his boat,

tethered in the Willow Cove.

He remembered when he first saw Rose, for that must have been

when he began to love her, though he was only fourteen and quite

unconscious that the first seed had been dropped in the rich soil

of his boyish heart.

He was seated on the kerosene barrel in the Edgewood post-office,

which was also the general country store, where newspapers,

letters, molasses, nails, salt codfish, hairpins, sugar, liver

pills, canned goods, beans, and ginghams dwelt in genial

proximity. When she entered, just a little pink-and-white slip

of a thing with a tin pail in her hand and a sunbonnet falling

off her wavy hair, Stephen suddenly stopped swinging his feet.

She gravely announced her wants, reading them from a bit of

paper,--1 quart molasses, 1 package ginger, 1 lb. cheese, 2

pairs shoe laces, 1 card shirt buttons.

While the storekeeper drew off the molasses she exchanged shy

looks with Stephen, who, clean, well-dressed, and carefully

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