Ruth learned to love her father by reason of his idolatrous devotion to her, as well as the powerful influence of his brilliant talents. In those first days of convalescence he followed her feebly from room to room, drinking in the joy of having her after the privation of years; and one day folding her to his breast said:
“My precious child—my beautiful daughter—hear your father’s vow! Come what will, nevermore shall a drop of the accursed fire pass my lips. I will redeem our name—I can and I will.”
He kept his word. Ruth went to Vassar. She wrote long, loving letters to her mother and father every week of her school life. Once she said to her mother:
“You know what I wish, my darling mamma. You know that I long to unite my two beloveds; but never shall I ask it. You must follow your own heart. I believe my father will be worthy of us; I shall be guided by you alone.”
At first the mother was stricken down by the fierce throes of jealousy and pain that rent her soul; but as time went on and she knew that she was not supplanted, she grew quiescent. But she owned to herself that she never could have sent Ruth away if it had not been to separate her from her father as well.
On every side his praises were sung in her ears. He was rising higher and higher in his profession, and one enormous fee in a contested will case, had suddenly made him rich. Both were getting on toward middle life, and he was slightly gray; but her brown hair lay in the same soft, glossy bands, and her pure white face was placid as of yore.
Four years had passed, and Ruth’s birthday was at hand. Her mind had long been made up; and now Christmas light and gladness reigned supreme. It was just at the close of the day when entering the fire-lit room upon the arm of her tall, distinguished-looking father, she threw her arms about her mother and whispered three words,—“For our sake!”
Then kneeling with courtly grace before her, he kissed the fair hand he had won in his youth and in tones whose music had thrilled her girlish heart, he spoke:
“My beloved, will you not trust me again? See—our darling has saved us for each other.”
And the last ray of the roseate sun lingered lovingly on the three as the evening sank into blessed night.
A LOVE STORY
It was rather late when Hervey Leslie threw the remains of a cigar from the car window, and staggered through the jumping, jerking Pullman to his berth.
The curtains were all drawn, giving to the car a funereal aspect, and lights were turned down for the night.