“Any way seems just, I’d say,” he said. “They love one another, so what’s the odds? Do you know Reddon well?”
“I have seen him many times,” she replied with apparent evasiveness.
“He is a—” but here he stopped as if paralysis had seized him suddenly. The truth shot into his brain like a deadly bolt. Everything was as plain as day to him now. She stooped to pick up a slim, broken reed that crossed her path, and her face was averted. “God!” was the cry that almost escaped his lips. “She loves Reddon, and he is going to marry her best friend!” Cold perspiration started from every pore in his body. He had met the doom of love—the end of hope.
“He has always loved her,” said Rosalie so calmly that he was shocked by her courage. “I hope she will not ask him to wait.”
Rosalie never understood why Bonner looked at her in amazement and said:
“By Jove, you are a—a marvel, Rosalie!”
The Blind Man’s Eyes
Bonner went away without another word of love to her. He saw the futility of hoping, and he was noble enough to respect her plea for silence on the subject that seemed distasteful to her. He went as one conquered and subdued; he went with the iron in his heart for the first time—deeply imbedded and racking.
Bonner came twice from the place across the river. Anderson observed that he looked “peaked,” and Rosalie mistook the hungry, wan look in his face for the emaciation natural to confinement indoors. He was whiter than was his wont, and there was a dogged, stubborn look growing about his eyes and mouth that would have been understood by the sophisticated. It was the first indication of the battle his love was to wage in days to come. He saw no sign of weakening in Rosalie. She would not let him look into her brave little heart, and so he turned his back upon the field and fled to Boston, half beaten, but unconsciously collecting his forces for the strife of another day. He did not know it then, nor did she, but his love was not vanquished; it had met its first rebuff, that was all.
Tinkletown was sorry to see him depart, but it thrived on his promise to return. Every one winked slyly behind his back, for, of course, Tinkletown understood it all. He would come back often and then not at all—for the magnet would go away with him in the end. The busybodies, good-natured but garrulous, did not have to rehearse the story to its end; it would have been superfluous. Be it said here, however, that Rosalie was not long in settling many of the speculators straight in their minds. It seemed improbable that it should not be as they had thought and hoped. The news soon reached Blootch Peabody and Ed Higgins, and, both eager to revive a blighted hope, in high spirits, called to see Rosalie on the same night. It is on record that neither of them uttered two dozen words between eight o’clock and ten, so bitterly was the presence of the other resented.