There was something inexpressibly soothing in the serenity of the night. Arch felt its influence. The hot color died out of his cheek, his pulse beat slower, he lifted his eyes to the purple arch of the summer sky.
“All God’s universe is at rest,” said Margie, her voice breaking upon his ear like a strain of music. “Oh, Arthur Trevlyn, be at peace with all mankind!”
“I am—with all but him.”
“And with him, also. The heart which bears malice cannot be a happy heart. There has been a great wrong done—I have heard the sad story—but it is divine to forgive. The man who can pardon the enemy who has wrought him evil, rises to a height where nothing of these earthly temptations can harm him more. He stands on a level with the angels of God. If you have been injured, let it pass. If your parents were hurried out of the world by his cruelty, think how much sooner they tasted the bliss of heaven! Every wrong will in due time be avenged. Justice will be done, for the Infinite One has promised it. Leave it in His hands. Archer, before I leave you, promise to forgive Mr. Trevlyn.”
“I cannot! I cannot!” he cried, hoarsely. “Oh, Margie, Miss Harrison, ask of me anything but that, even to the sacrifice of my life, and I will willingly oblige you, but not that! not that!”
“That is all I ask. It is for your good and my peace of mind that I demand it. You have no right to make me unhappy, as your persistence in this dreadful course will do. Promise me, Archer Trevlyn!”
She put her hand on his shoulder; he turned his head and pressed his lips upon it. She did not draw it away, but stood, melting his hard heart with her wonderfully sweet gaze. He yielded all at once—she knew she had conquered. He sank down on one knee before her, and bowed his face upon his hands. She stooped over him, her hair swept his shoulders, the brown mingling with the deeper chestnut of his curling locks.
“You will promise me, Mr. Trevlyn?”
He looked up suddenly.
“What will you give me, if I promise?”
“Ask for it.”
He lifted a curl of shining hair.
“Yes,” she said. “Promise me what I ask, and I will give it to you.”
He took his pocket-knife and severed the tress.
“I promise you. I break my vow; I seek no revenge. I forgive John Trevlyn, and may God forgive him also. He is safe from me. I submit to have my parents sleep on unavenged. I leave him and his sins to the God whom he denies; and all because you have asked it of me.”
Slowly and silently they went up to the house. At the door he said no good-night—he only held her hand a moment, closely, and then turned away.
Paul Linmere’s wedding-day drew near. Between him and Margie there was no semblance of affection. Her coldness never varied, and after a few fruitless attempts to excite in her some manifestation of interest, he took his cue from her, and was as coldly indifferent as herself.