Katy looked wonderingly at him, and he continued;
“You said you could not be my wife. Was that true? Can’t you take it back, and give me a different answer?”
Katy’s checks were scarlet, and her hands had ceased to flutter about the knitting which lay upon her lap.
“I meant what I said,” she whispered; “for knowing, as I do, how Wilford felt, it would not be right for me to be so happy.”
“Then it’s nothing personal? If there were no harrowing memories of Wilford, you could be happy with me. Is that it, Katy?” Morris asked, coming close to her now, and imprisoning her hands, which she did not try to take away, but let them lie in his as he continued: “Wilford was willing at the last. Have you forgotten that?”
“I had, until Helen reminded me.” Katy replied. “But, Morris, the talking of this thing brings Wilford’s death back so vividly, making it seem but yesterday since I held his dying head.”
She was beginning to relent, Morris knew, and bending nearer to her, he said:
“It was not yesterday. It will be two years in February; and this, you know, is November. I need you, Katy. I want you so much. I have wanted you all your life. Before it was wrong to do so I used each day to pray that God would give you to me, and now I feel just as sure that he has opened the way for you to come to me as I am sure that Wilford is in heaven. He is happy there, and shall a morbid fancy keep you from being happy here? Tell me then, Katy, will you be my wife?”
He was kissing her cold hands, and as he did so he felt her tears dropping on his hair.
“If I say yes, Morris, you will not think that I never loved Wilford, for I did, oh yes, I did. Not exactly as I supposed I might, even then, have loved you, had you asked me first, but I loved him, and I was happy with him, or if there were little clouds, his dying swept them all away.”
Katy was proving herself a true woman, who remembered only the good there was in Wilford, and Morris did not love her less for it. She was all the dearer to him, all the more desirable. Once he told her so, winding his arms about her, and resting her head upon his shoulder, where it lay just as it had never lain before, for with the first kiss Morris gave her, calling her “My own little Katy,” she felt stealing over her the same indescribable peace she had always felt with him, intensified now, and sweeter from the knowing it would remain if she should will it so. And she did will it so, kissing Morris back when he asked her to, and thus sealing the compact of her second betrothal. It was not exactly like the first. There was no tumultuous emotions, or ecstatic joys, but Katy felt in her inmost heart that she was happier now than then, that between herself and Morris there was more affinity than there had been between herself and Wilford, and as she looked back over the road she had come, and remembered all Morris had been to her, she wondered at her blindness in not recognizing and responding to the love in which she had now found shelter.