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" Were you aware that your slight hurt me that others
noticed it ? "
•' °YeS," he said, flushing with shame.
" And yet you ignored me, knowing that it would wound my
feelings ?" she pursued.
" Yes," lie said, again.
" Then it was not caprice. You had some good reason for it.
What was it ?"
Strangely enough he did not resent this catechizing.
"It is a long story," he said, glancing at the rustic seat.
She comprehended, and they sat down. Then, in a few well
chosen words, he told her of the conversation in the library and
his subsequent actions.
" So you would not come near me because others were watch
ing ?" she said, with just the shadow of a smile.
" I could have wished for nothing better, but I dared not," he
answered, averting his face.
" I dO not see why you should have made us both suffer," she
returned, in a low voice.
Muirkirk turned in a flash. The words were ambiguous, but
he took the benefit of the doubt.
" Margaret," he exclaimed, unconsciously using the name by
which he always thought of her,—" Margaret, what do you
mean ?" His voice trembled.
" Mean ? Oh, nothing," she replied, looking up at him, and
trying to recover herself by a show of bravado. But it was of no
" Margaret," said Muirkirk, this time fully conscious of his
words, "you have found it in your heart to forgive me a great
wrong. Have you nothing but compassion for me ?"
There was an answer; but so softly and, so timidly was it given
that Muirkirk himself was the only one who heard it distinctly.
But, then, he was the only one who had need of hearing it.
When he came into 'his room, an indefinite period thereafter,
his room-mate exclaimed,
" Why, 'Kirk, you've lost your .Prat pin. "
" So I have, " he said, unconcernedly.
WITHIN THE ELLIPSE
" Well, I guess it will