He laid his own upon it. “Poor little hand without a wedding ring,” he said.
And now the numbness seemed to engulf her, to break——
“Hush, Leila, dear one.”
But she could not hush. That very morning they had slipped the wedding ring over a length of narrow blue ribbon, and Barry had tied it about her neck. To-morrow, he had promised, she should wear it for all the world to see.
But she was not to wear it. It must be hidden, as she had hidden it all day above her heart.
“Leila, you are making it hard for me.”
It was the man’s cry of selfishness, but hearing it, she put her own trouble aside. He needed her, and her king could do no wrong.
So she set herself to comfort him. In the month that was left to them they would make the most of their happiness. Then perhaps she could get Dad to bring her over in the summer, and he should show her London, and all the lovely places, and there would be the letters; she would write everything—and he must write.
“You little saint,” he said when he left her, “you’re too good for me, but all that’s best in me belongs to you—my precious.”
She went to the door with him and said “good-night” bravely.
Then she shut the door and shivered. When at last she made her way through the hall to the library, she seemed to be pushing against some barrier, so that her way was slow.
On the threshold of that room she stopped.
“Dad,” she said, sharply.
He sprang to his feet just in time and caught her.
She lay against his heart white and still. The strain of the last two days had been too great for her, and Little-Lovely Leila had fainted dead away.
In Which a Long Name is Bestowed Upon a Beautiful Baby; and in Which a Letter in a Long Envelope Brings Freedom to Mary.
The christening of Constance’s baby brought together a group of feminine personalities, which, to one possessed with imagination, might have stood for the evil and beneficent fairies of the old story books.
The little Mary-Constance Ballard Richardson, in spite of the dignity of her hyphenated name, was a wee morsel. Swathed in fine linen, she showed to the unprejudiced eye no signs of great beauty. With a wrinkly-red skin, a funny round nose, a toothless mouth—she was like every other normal baby of her age, but to her family and friends she was a rare and unmatched object.
Even Aunt Frances succumbed to her charms. “I must say,” she remarked to Delilah Jeliffe, as they bent over the bassinet, “that she is remarkable for her age.”
Delilah shrugged. “I’m not fond of them. They’re so red and squirmy.”
Leila protested hotly. “Delilah, she’s lovely—such little perfect hands.”