“I certainly—will—not!” Again she drew away. “Jacqueline will not get here until July. I told you she was coming home to live. You don’t suppose I’d leave my mother before Jacqueline comes home?”
“In October, perhaps.” Slowly the color crept to her temples. “It is so beautiful here in October. There isn’t a month in all the year it will not hurt to leave.” Sudden tears were in her eyes. “But it would hurt worse not to be—with—you. They were very long, Winthrop, the winter months that followed Christmas. You have very poor manners. You should have written first and told me you had enjoyed yourself instead of telling—”
“What I could no longer keep back? There was no time for manners. I had to know.”
“But you didn’t, and because I couldn’t tell you. Before, I have always been so quick to know. To go away—with just you! I had to be so certain there was no other way of happiness.” In the darkness she shivered slightly, and Laine drew her into his arms and held her close.
“Perhaps”—her voice was so low he had to bend his head to hear it—“perhaps it is because we are apart from the things that make one forget that I have thought more about what it should mean—what marriage should mean—than I might have done had there been no time to think. It is forever, Winthrop, this life that we are entering. Are we very, very sure there’s love enough to last?”
“I am very sure, Claudia.” He lifted her hands to his lips and kissed them. “For me your love will make of life a—”
“Land that is not lonely?” Under her breath she laughed, to hide the sob in her throat. “Oh, Winthrop Laine, it is what love is for! And no one’s land is lonely when there is love enough!”
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