“I beg your pardon,” he said, suddenly. “But I was so full of this beautiful doing,—and I always think of you so! Is there a sin in that?”
Rosamond colored deeper yet, and Kenneth grew more bold. He had spoken it without plan; it had come of itself.
“I can’t help it now. I shall say it again, unless you tell me not! Rosamond! I shall have these houses to build. I am getting ever so much to do. Could you begin the world with me, Rosamond?”
Rosamond did not say a word for a full minute. She only walked slowly by his side, her beautiful head inclined gently, shyly; her sweet face all one bloom, as faces never bloom but once.
Then she turned toward him and put out her hand.
“I will begin the world with you,” she said.
And their world—that was begun for them before they were born—lifted up its veil and showed itself to them, bright in the eternal morning.
* * * * *
Desire Ledwith walked home all alone. She left Dorris at Miss Waite’s, and Helena had teased to stay with her. Mrs. Ledwith had gone home among the first, taking a seat offered her in Mrs. Tom Friske’s carriage to East Square; she had a headache, and was tired.
Desire felt the old, miserable questions coming up, tempting her.
Why was she left out,—forgotten? Why was there nothing, very much, in any of this, for her?
Yet underneath the doubting and accusing, something lived—stayed by—to rebuke it; rose up above it finally, and put it down, though with a thrust that hurt the heart in which the doubt was trampled.
Wait. Wait—with all your might!
Desire could do nothing very meekly; but she could even wait with all her might. She put her foot down with a will, at every step.
“I was put here to be Desire Ledwith,” she said, relentlessly, to herself; “not Rosamond Holabird, nor even Dolly. Well, I suppose I can stay put, and be! If things would only let me be!”
But they will not. Things never do, Desire.
They are coming, now, upon you. Hard things,—and all at once.
ALL AT ONCE.
There was a Monday morning train going down from Z——.
Mr. Ledwith and Kenneth Kincaid were in it, reading the morning papers, seated side by side.
It was nearly a week since the picnic, but the engagement of Rosamond and Kenneth had not transpired. Mr. Holabird had been away in New York. Of course nothing was said beyond Mrs. Holabird and Ruth and Dolly Kincaid, until his return. But Kenneth carried a happy face about with him, in the streets and in the cars and about his work; and his speech was quick and bright with the men he met and had need to speak to. It almost told itself; people might have guessed it, if they had happened, at least to see the two faces in the same day, and if they were alive to sympathetic impressions of other people’s pain or joy. There are not many who stop to piece expressions, from pure sympathy, however; they are, for the most part, too busy putting this and that together for themselves.