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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 708 pages of information about The Woman Thou Gavest Me.

We were standing a little apart, for though I wanted to throw my arms about his neck at that last instant I would not allow myself to do so, because I knew that that would make it the harder for him to go.

I could see, too, that he was trying not to make it harder for me, so we stood in silence for a moment while my bosom heaved and his breath came quick.

Then he took my right hand in both of his hands and said:  “There is a bond between us now which can never be broken.”

“Never,” I answered.

“Whatever happens to either of us we belong to each other for ever.”

“For ever and ever,” I replied.

I felt his hands tighten at that, and after another moment of silence, he said: 

“I may be a long time away, Mary.”

“I can wait.”

“Down there a man has to meet many dangers.”

“You will come back.  Providence will take care of you.”

“I think it will.  I feel I shall.  But if I don’t. . . .”

I knew what he was trying to say.  A shadow seemed to pass between us.  My throat grew thick, and for a moment I could not speak.  But then I heard myself say: 

“Love is stronger than death; many waters cannot quench it.”

His hands quivered, his whole body trembled, and I thought he was going to clasp me to his breast as before, but he only drew down my forehead with his hot hand and kissed it.

That was all, but a blinding mist seemed to pass before my eyes, and when it cleared the door of the room was open and my Martin was gone.

I stood where he had left me and listened.

I heard his strong step on the stone flags of the hall—­he was going out at the porch.

I heard the metallic clashing of the door of the automobile—­he was already in the car.

I heard the throb of the motor and ruckling of the gravel of the path—­he was moving away.

I heard the dying down of the engine and the soft roll of the rubber wheels—­I was alone.

For some moments after that the world seemed empty and void.  But the feeling passed, and when I recovered my strength I found Martin’s letter in my moist left hand.

Then I knelt before the fire, and putting the letter into the flames I burnt it.

SEVENTY-FIRST CHAPTER

Within, two hours of Martin’s departure I had regained complete possession of myself and was feeling more happy than I had ever felt before.

The tormenting compunctions of the past months were gone.  It was just as if I had obeyed some higher law of my being and had become a freer and purer woman.

My heart leapt within me and to give free rein to the riot of my joy I put on my hat and cloak to go into the glen.

Crossing the garden I came upon Tommy the Mate, who told me there had been a terrific thunderstorm during the night, with torrential rain, which had torn up all the foreign plants in his flower-beds.

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