"I was once very happy here," she said. "When the time of the heartache came soon after I was afraid to look at the old tree and the bench under it. But that is all over now. I like to remember the hours that were once dear to me and to see the place that recalls them. Do you know who I am thinking of? Don't be afraid of distressing me. I never cry now."
"My dear child, I have heard your sad story--but I can't trust myself to speak of it."
"Because you are so sorry for me?"
"No words can say how sorry I am!"
"But you are not angry with Philip?"
"Not angry! My poor dear, I am afraid to tell you how angry I am with him."
"Oh, no! You mustn't say that. If you wish to be kind to me--and I am sure you do wish it--don't think bitterly of Philip."
When I remember that the first feeling she roused in me was nothing worthier of a professing Christian than astonishment I drop in my own estimation to the level of a savage. "Do you really mean," I was base enough to ask, "that you have forgiven him?"
She said gently: "How could I help forgiving him?"
The man who could have been blessed with such love as this and who could have cast it away from him can have been nothing but an idiot. On that ground--though I dare not confess it to Eunice--I forgave him too.
"Do I surprise you?" she asked, simply. "Perhaps love will bear any humiliation. Or perhaps I am only a poor weak creature. You don't know what a comfort it was to me to keep the few letters that I received from Philip. When I heard that he had gone away I gave his letters the kiss that bade him good-by. That was the time, I think, when my poor bruised heart got used to the pain; I began to feel that there was one consolation still left for me--I might end in forgiving him. Why do I tell you all this? I think you must have bewitched me. Is this really the first time I have seen you?"
She put her little trembling hand into mine; I lifted it to my lips and kissed it. Sorely was I tempted to own that I had pitied and loved her in her infancy. It was almost on my lips to say: "I remember you an easily pleased little creature, amusing yourself with the broken toys which were once the playthings of my own children." I believe I should have said it if I could have trusted myself to speak