John Ware drew a service book from his pocket, and his fingers trembled as he began. For none in the room, not even for Sylvia, had this hour deeper meaning than for the gray soldier. He read slowly, as though this were a new thing in the world, that a man and a woman had chosen to walk together to the end of their days. And once his voice broke. He who, in a hill country far away, had baptized this woman into the fold of Christ the Shepherd, wavered for an instant as he said:—
“Elizabeth, wilt thou have this man—”
Sylvia lifted her head. She had not expected this, nor had Dan; but Dr. Wandless had already stepped forward to give her in marriage, and as she repeated her name after the minister, she felt the warm, reassuring pressure of Dan’s hand.
And so they went forth together from the little cottage by the campus where they had first met; nor may it have been wholly a fancy of Dr. Wandless’s that the stars came out earlier that white, winter evening to add their blessing!
A POSTSCRIPT BY THE CHRONICLER
Those who resent as an impertinence the chronicler’s intrusion upon the scene may here depart and slam the door, if such violence truly express their sentiments. Others, averse to precipitous leavetaking, may linger, hat in hand, for the epilogue.
I attended a public hearing by the senate committee on child labor at the last session of the general assembly, accompanying my neighbor, Mrs. Sally Owen, and we found seats immediately behind Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Harwood.
“There’s E-lizabeth and Daniel,” remarked Mrs. Owen, as they turned round and nodded to us. I found it pleasant to watch the Harwoods, who are, as may have been surmised, old friends of mine. The meeting gathered headway, and as one speaker after another was presented by the chairman, I observed that Mrs. Harwood and her husband frequently exchanged glances of approval; and I’m afraid that Mrs. Harwood’s profile, and that winning smile of hers, interested me quite as much as the pleas of those who advocated the pending bill. Then the representative of a manufacturers’ organization inveighed against the measure, and my two friends became even more deeply absorbed. It was a telling speech, by one of the best-known lawyers in the state. Once I saw Dan’s cowlick shake like the plume of an angry warrior as his wife turned toward him inquiringly. When the orator concluded, I saw them discussing his arguments in emphatic whispers, and I was so pleased with the picture they made that I failed to catch the name of the speaker whom the chairman was introducing. A nudge from Mrs. Owen caused me to lift my eyes to the rostrum.