“I’m not—half good enough. My life has always been lived at loose ends. Nothing bad, but a thousand things that you wouldn’t—like to hear—I’m not a golden girl—I’m a gilded one——”
“Why should you tell me things like that? I don’t believe it.”
“Please believe it,” she said earnestly, “don’t whitewash things. Just let me begin again—loving you——”
Her voice broke. He drew himself up, and took her in his arms. “My dear girl,” he said, “my dear girl——”
“I never met a man like you, I never believed there were—such men——” He felt her tears against his hand.
“Listen,” he said quietly; “let me tell you something of my life.” He told her the things he had told Randy. Of the little wife he had not loved. “Perhaps if it had not been for her, I should not have had the courage to offer to you my—maimed—self. When I married her I was strong and young and had wealth to give her. Yet I did not give her love. And love is more than all the rest. I have that to give you—you know it.”
“I have some money. I don’t think it is going to count much with either of us. What will count is the way we plan our future. I have a big old ranch, and we’ll live in it—with the dairy and the wide kitchen that you’ve talked about—and you won’t have to wait for another world, dearest, to get your heart’s desire——”
“I have my heart’s desire,” she whispered; “you are—my world.”
Madge wrote to George Dalton that she was going to marry Major Prime.
“There is no reason
why we should put it off, Georgie. The
clergyman who prayed for Flora will perform the ceremony, and the
wedding will be at the Flippins’ farm.
“It seems, of course, too good to be true. Not many women have such luck. Not my kind of women anyway. We meet men as a rule who want us to be gilded girls, and not golden ones. But Mark wants me to be gold all through. And I shall try to be—— We are to live on his ranch, a place that passes in California for a farm—a sort of glorified country place. Mrs. Flippin is teaching me to make butter, so that I can superintend my own dairy, and I have learned a great deal about chickens and eggs.
“I am going to be a housewife in what I call a reincarnated sense—loving my house and the things which belong to it, and living as a part of it, not above it, and looking down upon it. Perhaps all American women will come to that some day and I shall simply be blazing the way for them. I shall probably grow rosy and round, and if you ever ride up to my door-step, you will find me a buxom and blooming matron instead of a golden girl. And you won’t like it in the least. But my husband will like it, because he thinks a bit as I do about it, and he doesn’t care for the woman who