in the river, as so many other broken-hearted fellows had done.

She had been touched by his misery, even against her better

judgment; and she had intended to confess it all to Stephen

sometime, telling him that she should never again accept

attentions from a stranger, lest a tragedy like this should

happen twice in a lifetime.

She had imagined that Stephen would be his large-minded,

great-hearted, magnanimous self, and beg her to forget this

fascinating will-o'the-wisp by resting in his deeper, serener

love. She had meant to be contrite and faithful, praying nightly

that poor Claude might live down his present anguish, of which

she had been the innocent cause.

Instead, what had happened? She had been put altogether in the

wrong. Stephen had almost cast her off, and that, too, without

argument. He had given her her liberty before she had asked for

it, taking it for granted, without question, that she desired to

be rid of him. Instead of comforting her in her remorse, or

sympathizing with her for so nobly refusing to shine in Claude's

larger world of Boston, Stephen had assumed that she was disloyal

in every particular.

And pray how was she to cope with such a disagreeable and

complicated situation?

It would not be long before the gossips rolled under their

tongues the delicious morsel of a broken engagement, and sooner

or later she must brave the displeasure of her grandmother.

And the little house--that was worse than anything. Her tears

flowed faster as she thought of Stephen's joy in it, of his

faithful labor, of the savings he had invested in it. She hated

and despised her self when she thought of the house, and for the

first time in her life she realized the limitations of her

nature, the poverty of her ideals.

What should she do? She had lost Stephen and ruined his life.

Now, in order that she need not blight a second career, must she

contrive to return Claude's love! To be sure, she thought, it

seemed indecent to marry any other man than Stephen, when they

had built a house together, and chosen wall-papers, and a kitchen

stove, and dining-room chairs; but was it not the only way to

evade the difficulties?

Suppose that Stephen, in a fit of pique, should ask somebody else

to share the new cottage?

As this dreadful possibility came into view, Rose's sobs actually

frightened the birds and the squirrels. She paced back and forth

under the trees, wondering how she could have been engaged to a

man for eight months and know so little about him as she seemed

to know about Stephen Waterman to-day. Who would have believed

he could be so autocratic, so severe, so unapproachable! Who

could have foreseen that she, Rose Wiley, would ever be given up

to another man,--handed over as coolly as if she had been a

bale of cotton? She wanted to return Claude Merrill's love

because it was the only way out of the tangle; but at the moment

(C) 2013 Как раскрутить сайт навсегда