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kept' a sharp watch for the moment when she should appear to
offer her need of praise to the hero of the hour. So, when he
saw her coming toward him, with a smile of pride on her winsome
face, he turned suddenly away, but not before lie had seen the
look of pained surprise caused by his manifest intention to ignore.
Now, as he sat in the gathering darkness, he cursed himself for
a fool allowing himself to be influenced by the random, and,
mayhap inconsequential gossip of a pair of girls. But even his
contrition Aid not restore his peace of mind. He was at a loss to
know what to do to repair the breach , he had so maliciously and
intentionally made, and he would gladly have shirked the task if
it had been possible. But since his had been the hand to break,
his it must also be to make, and that before the gulf between them
had widened to a hopelesg breadth.
And then, too, the letter that he held in his hand opened up
such a realm of possibilities, which, but a few hours before,
might have'been his to realize. It was not every graduate, he
reflected that could step from the portals of his Alma Mater
into a position bringing him a cool thousand a year at the .start. He
tore the letter into fine shreds and scattered them with a careless
wave of, his hand. As he did so, he became aware of a presence
near him. Thinking it was but another belated congratulator, he
resumed his mask of impassivity, and awaited the attack. But
none came, Instead, there was wafted to his nostrils the faint
odor of heliotrope, and to his ears came the faint frou—frou of
skirts. In a second he was on his feet, facing the newcomer.
For a moment there was unbroken silence. Each seemed
anxious to say . something, yet neither could find words on the
instant. But at length the girl, being the more possessed of the
two, made a sudden step forward.
" What have I done ?" 'she said. There was neither reproach
nor anger in her tone. The expression loosed Muirkirk's tongue.
" Don't say another word, please, Miss Kincaide, until I have
spoken. Heaven knows that I have acted like the cad I am, with
absolutely no reason for it but a passing whim. And I can't be
gin to tell you how sorry I am, if that could but make reparation.
forgive me for the rudeness of the afternoon, and the injury I
have done you. "
"It is easy to forgive, and I forgive you," she said. Then,
before he could speak again, she went on hurriedly,
WITHIN THU ULLIPSIt