With this determination she sank to sleep, sweet and undisturbed.
Early next morning, as usual, she was in the breakfast-room, ministering to the little ones clustering around her. The father’s frown had lost its accustomed sternness, as he stood regarding his eldest child. A gentle, sympathetic light was in his eyes as they rested on the sweet face grown older, much, in those days of anxious care. How matronly she looked! So patiently listening to, and answering every wish of the little ones.
At last they were all satisfied; and Susie seeing, as she thought, her father deeply interested in the morning paper, stole away to the trysting-place.
* * * * *
“I cannot leave him, Frank. Indeed, I never can without his blessing resting on me. No, no!” she cried, as she saw the disappointed and stern expression of her lover’s face, “I have tried, in vain, to make my mind up to it. How can I give up either? loving you both so well.”
“You have trifled with me, Susie; you have broken your promise, too. You will, most likely, never see me after this morning, if I go from you. Are you determined?”
“Yes, dear, dear Frank, I am determined not to go unless father blesses and bids me go. I will trust my happiness to him, and God, who ruleth all things,” Susie answered, looking very sorrowful, notwithstanding her faith.
She raised her face, pale and pleading, to his:
“Kiss me good-by, Frank, and say, ‘God bless me,’ please,” she whispered.
He did as she pleaded, but there was an injured air in his manner. As he parted from her, she sprang after him, crying:
“Forgive me, Frank, if I have wounded you. Know that to me it is worse. One little parting look of love, darling!”
“Oh, Susie, how can you?” He pressed her again to his heart, looked lovingly enough: but his eyes, as plain as words could, repeated Tennyson’s lines:
“Trust me all
Or not at all.”
And, determined to make one more appeal, he said:
“Susie, darling! love! trust me for happiness. You will never repent it. Come!”
“No, no. Go!”
He turned off quickly, angrily then; and Susie sank, sobbing, on the grass.
She raised her eyes, heavy with tears. Beside her, with a sad but kind and gentle face, her father stood. With him, a puzzled, doubtful expression on his features, her lover.
“Oh, Frank, I am so—so glad to see you again!” she cried, with as much joy beaming in her eyes as though their parting had been for years.
“Yes; as it is so very long since you saw him last!” her father said, with a pleasant smile.
“I feared it would be for years, perhaps forever,” Susie said, in a low voice, anxiously regarding her father, and longing to beg an immediate explanation of her lover’s return.