“I shan’t—sleep,” nervously. There were deep shadows under her troubled eyes. “I shan’t sleep when I go.”
Randy came over and knelt by her side. “My dear, my dear,” he said, “I am afraid I have let you in for a lot of trouble.”
“But the things you said were true—he came—because he thought I—belonged to—you.”
She hesitated. Then she reached out her hand to him. “Randy,” she said, “I told him I was going to marry—you.”
His hand had gone over hers, and now he held it in his strong clasp. “Of course it isn’t true, Becky.”
“I am going to make it true.”
Dead silence. Then, “No, my dear.”
“You don’t love me.”
“But I like you,” feverishly, “I like you, tremendously, and don’t you want to marry me, Randy?”
“God knows that I do,” said poor Randy, “but I must not. It—it would be Heaven for me, you know that. But it wouldn’t be quite—cricket—to let you do it, Becky.”
“I am not doing it for your sake. I am doing it for my own. I want to feel—safe. Do I seem awfully selfish when I say that?”
A great wave of emotion swept over him. She had turned to him for protection, for tenderness. In that moment Randy grew to the full stature of a man. He lifted her hand and kissed it. “You are making me very happy, Becky, dear.”
It was a strange betrothal. Behind them the old eagle brooded with outstretched wings, the owl, round-eyed, looked down upon them and withheld his wisdom, the Trumpeter, white as snow, in his glass case, was as silent as the Sphinx.
“You are making me very happy, Becky, dear,” said poor Randy, knowing as he said it that such happiness was not for him.
The Major’s call on Miss MacVeigh had been a great success. She was sitting up, and had much to say to him. Throughout the days of her illness and convalescence, the Major had kept in touch with her. He had sent her quaint nosegays from the King’s Crest garden, man-tied and man-picked. He had sent her nice soldierly notes, asking her to call upon him if there was anything he could do for her. He had sent her books, and magazines, and now on this first visit, he brought back the “Pickwick” which he had picked up in the road after the accident.
“I have wondered,” Madge said, “what became of it.”
They were in the Flippin sitting-room. Madge was in a winged chair with a freshly-washed gray linen cover. The chair had belonged to Mrs. Flippin’s father, and for fifty years had held the place by the east window in summer and by the fireplace in winter. Oscar had wanted to bring things from Hamilton Hill to make Madge comfortable. But she had refused to spoil the simplicity of the quiet old house. “Everything that is here belongs here, Oscar,” she had told him, “and I like it.”