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sex. "Why can't they be something without hysterics?" he lamented.
"Osgood will break down if he is not got away." He mechanically turned
back his wristbands.

Lily waited in an ante-room, whose door Osgood must pass on his way
out, and when he came, beckoned to him.

"Say your farewell to me as you feel it," she said, her eyes in a
blaze.

"I can not."

"You shall."

Her eyes and her voice threw him into a tumult; had he followed the
desire which assailed him, he would have taken her in his arms and
carried her off. As it was, he looked at her, with a far-off look, as
if he were calling some one to his aid.

"Osgood, Osgood!" she cried.

"Lily!"

She wrung her hands.

"Lily!" he said again.

"No, no, you need not speak; you may go."

Both of them gained a victory.

"After I have gone," he said, "if you think it proper, will you visit
Peter and Maria?"

"Peter and Maria?"

"The friends I found when I left you, who helped me to find a better
self - a self that at last finds _you_."

"I will go."

"To-morrow, then, I will write you of them."

He was gone.

In a few days she received a letter which contained the narrative of
his sojourn with Peter and Maria, and a letter of introduction to
them. She showed the letter to Barclay.

"Shall you meet him there?"

She gave him no answer.

"On what terms are you with yourself?" he continued.

"To answer candidly, bad terms."

"Could you marry that beggar on better?"

"Alas! no."

"Tell me, are you satisfied with your choice?"

She looked so irresolute that he trembled and was sorry that he had
asked the question. Her better angel took wings, however, and she laid
her hand on his shoulder, saying, "I make no other."

So she went on her travels with Barclay in her train, and Osgood went
on a voyage in the _Stormy Petrel_ as third mate. When autumn came,
and the travelers had returned to town, Lily grew miserable. One day
she told Barclay that she wanted to read him a poem. He composed
himself to listen, and she read "The Palace of Art."

"'What is it that will take away my sin,
And save me lest I die?'" -

she repeated.

"Barclay," she entreated, "let me throw _your_ royal robes away, and
go to those friends of Osgood's, where I may learn that I am either
worthy of you or of him."

A stormy scene ensued. He would neither allow her to go, he said, nor
would he give her back her promise to him. But she was firm, and said
that she must go. His imprecations and his tears agitated her, but did
not shake her resolution. She had a battle with her father also when
she mentioned the subject, but she triumphed over him so far as to
make him promise to accompany her. She sent the letter of introduction
to Peter, and received a pithy reply from him. He advised her to come.
With Peter and Maria she learned why Osgood wished her to visit them.
She left them with a request that they should allow her to return
whenever she should wish.

She found Barclay sullen and unhappy; but in spite of himself she
convinced him that they were not intended for each other. It was a
work to persuade him to the contrary; but at last they parted not as
foes but friends.

When the engagement was annulled she took pains to ascertain from the
owners of the _Stormy Petrel_ what time she was expected home, and
before the date of her arrival she went on a visit to Peter and Maria.

There she studied the Marine List till she saw that the _Stormy
Petrel_ was in port. She said nothing of the fact to Peter, but as he
read the Marine List too, he found it out for himself. He went away in
his wagon a few mornings afterward, and when he returned Osgood was
beside him.

"Thee is as white as a ghost, Lily," said Maria, after a few minutes.

Osgood put his arm round her, and they kissed each other. Peter pushed
his hat on the back of his head, and kissed Maria, and said, "Give me
my dinner."




TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE:

Minor changes have been made to correct typesetters' errors; otherwise
every effort has been made to remain true to the authors' words and
intent.







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Online LibraryVariousStories by American Authors, Volume 8 → online text (page 12 of 12)