Evey and Her Happiness

EVEY TAYLOR, dark-eyed, beautiful Eve, bent forward, a forefinger up to the long row of child-faces. Wide eyes, blue or brown, fastened on it, fascinated. “ For, children,” concluded Evey, with a simple finality of statement explainable perhaps by her nineteen years, “ God always answers prayers. Not just sometimes,” expanded Evey with lovely, glowing fervor, “ but always: your prayer, Betty ” (the white forefinger curled with its sister fingers around Betty’s brown baby hands); “your prayer, little Martie ” (Evey’s other hand cupped Martie’s pink chin with its pinker palm, — Martie’s bud of a face lifted solemnly to Evey’s rapt regard); “my prayer,” ended Evey in an absent-minded half-whisper to Martie.

With the last two words she blushed, not scarlet, not pink, but white. Her eyes slipped from the faces of the children to where her white fingers cuddled Betty’s brown fingers. She could just glimpse her new ring with its heart-shaped green gem. The green, deep heart of spring it was for Evey. the green before the flowers, yet holding them all — oh, all the greens of all the springs dreamed of their flowers in Evey’s emerald-hearted ring! The white blush deepened. Unwillingly, but quite without her power to prevent it, she began to see how Richard looked as he stood near the door waiting for the lesson to be over. Of course she did not turn her head in church. She saw him with the white silk crown of her scoopy bonnet, with the narrow lacy ruffles of her shoulder-cape, with the braided curls so softly and mysteriously dark between these two whites, the silvery and the diaphanous. Then her hand —her right hand, the left was too shy, too bewildered with joy for boldness — began to steal up. It was jealous of the bonnet crown, of the lacy ruffles, of the dark braided curls between. It feigned to adjust a scarf-end. It inched higher. It tucked in the tip of a staring curl, and there it lingered, looking at Richard, too.

All at once Evey became conscious that the children were rising with spreading butterfly movements of stiff skirts. Her hand dropped hastily.

“ Come out in the grove until churchtime,” said Richard, leaning over her, a hand on the tall pew-door. He swung it for the children, and Evey’s class fluttered out on blue and pink and white wings, and scattered for a play-time among old graves.

Evey and Richard followed more slowly. Evey’s cheeks were of their normal, natural, marvelous velvety crimson again. Only when alone with her thought of Richard was Evey shy. By his side she had not enough self-consciousness left for shyness. She saw the lightning lift of his thick lashes, the impatient gesture of his hand, the bold music of his young laughter, the vivid flower on his coat, or the piercing notes plucked by him from his stringed instrument in the dark of the ivied porch.

But Richard never knew it. Evey was born to certain dignities, reserves, poises. Richard thought her cold. Once — it was when he was home on sick leave — he pretended to warm those impatient hands of his at her crimson cheeks, holding them one on either side, and shivering.

Evey drew back, smiling uncertainly.

“ There is n’t enough fire in your heart to warm them by,” he explained. “ It’s all in your cheeks, I think, Evey.”

For the first time Richard saw that white blush. His two hands were clasping pale cheeks now. They were burning his palms. From under her downcast lids little silent tears of confession were sliding one by one.

“ Oh, let me go! ” begged Evey, when she dared speak.

“I ’m sorry,” said Richard. He dropped his hands, and stood aside for her to pass. His face was thoughtful. He had not dreamed of Evey’s loving him like that.

The week after, they went camping, Evey’s people and his people, as was their custom in the fall. The elders drove around the graded pike; but the young ones went on horseback, and Evey’s golden-coated sorrel picked a disdainful way up the rough straight cut, followed by Richard’s big brown colt.

The two came out ahead at Link’s. A haystack of sweet grass scythed from the mountain meadow loomed first; then the old man’s squat cabin of hewn logs and boards. Wood-smoke, blue as the distant ridges, rose fragrantly into the deep bright blue of the sky. Old Link strode from the doorway, placidly pleased. “ I’ve been a looking for you folks this fortnit gone,” he said as he passed Evey and Richard on his way to let down the wood bars for the wagons.

The other riders broke through the forest now; and away from their laughter, and jesting, and unsaddling, Evey rode the golden-coated sorrel, moving slowly around the sere meadow, and halting by the mountain stream. Here she slid to the ground, unsaddling and unbridling with two swift complicated movements. The gay trappings tumbled on the grass, and Paxie shook his fabulous fleece of mane, and bowed his bright neck to drink.

“ Why run away ? ” protested Richard at her elbow. He looked at her, considering. Never had the velvet crimson of her cheeks been softer, more splendid.

“It’s up here, Richie,”said Evey absently. She pushed the soft riding felt back on her braided curls, and leaned against a young maple, bending her riding switch in two small bare fists. Her eyes wandered, her ears hearkened to the rustling arras of leaves, to the soaring sky filled with harplike humming of winds, to the creek, vague revealer of forest secrecies, to the grasshopper, whirring senilely in the fading sunshine spread at her feet. She apprehended everything but Richard, it appeared.

“ So you can get along very well without me, Evey?” he challenged her.

“ But it’s only because I have you,” said Evey. Her one dimple deepened, became a fairy well of laughter in her crimson cheek. Her hand offered itself in an adorable gesture of love and confidence.

Richard did not take it. Instead, he moved a step away and thrust his hands in his pockets.

“ Evey,” he said abruptly, “ let’s be — just friends again.”

A shocked silence filled the space between them. Then Evey spoke, her white face lifted, her dropped hand twisting a fold of her habit.

“ Don’t you love me any more ? ” She asked it in a clear, careful, unnatural voice. Richard came closer, leaning over, speaking eagerly, as to a comrade who must understand. “ I want to be free, Evey. Why,” he broke out with a candor so amazing in its childishness, so spontaneous in its appeal, that it served for its own absolution, “ I’ve never been free! I’ve been engaged to some one ever since I was seventeen! ”

Evey nodded. “I thought this — was — different.”

“ So did I,” cried Richard. “ Do you think I’d have asked you to marry me, Evey, if I had n’t believed this to be — different ? ”

“ But it is n’t?” asked Evey, in the same colorless, unrecognizable voice. No one could have guessed that she was pleading desperately for the life of her happiness.

Richard shook his head. “I suppose it would be, if I could be here with you all the time, Evey — but — I want to be free,” he repeated. He flung his hand out in a wide, wild gesture. “When I’m out there with Stuart I want to feel free. I don’t want to be drawn back to another sort of life, for that’s my life now, Evey. You see, we can’t beat them.”He bent, following her involuntary, surprised recoil. “ You don’t like to hear that, Evey, but lots of us have the sense to realize it. We can’t. They’ve everything behind them; but we can wear them out. We can carry on a defensive warfare for years and years up in these mountains. That’s what it will come to, for we won’t give up. How can I think of love, of marriage ? Oh, Evey, if you were a boy I’d take you back with me, and you’d understand.”

“ You might have told me — sooner.”

“ I was so ill —at first. You are so dear, so sweet. I’ve been cowardly — ” He broke off abruptly. With a gesture he offered himself to be dealt with.

“Poor little boy!”said Evey. Her voice became rich and full of meaning Scorn, motherliness, humor, warmed it, colored it. She turned, looking him full in the face with pondering, deep seeing eyes. He became a symbol. “ Poor little boys — North, East, South, West, hundreds of thousands of them, capable of every nobility, of every pettiness, of every courage, of every cowardice, of every truth, of every lie, of every wild and foolish inconsistency between truth and lie — tender of a dog’s feelings — breaking a friend’s heart — poor little boys! ” Evey’s color came half-way back, never quite all the way again. “ I understand,” she said from her vantage ground attained in a vision. She drew off the little ring and held it out to him.

“ Evey ? ” pleaded Richard. He became scarlet. Tears flashed to his eyes. “Can’t you keep that? We’ve always been friends. Can’t you keep it. as my friend ? ”

Poor little boys! Poor, blundering, incredibly foolish, unspeakably cruel little boys! Evey still held out the little emerald-hearted ring. In it all the green of all the springs dreamed of their flowers — flowers never, never, never to bloom.

Take it! ” cried Evey.

Next day, bearing old Link with them as guide, philosopher, and friend, they climbed to the top of their particular part of the world, a strange plateau of acres, piled with rocks, and dotted here and there with an unnatural species of oak exactly like old gnarled apple-trees. There were three of these grotesque orchards on the plateau, and on it also a river had its source. A river is the only thing that is all ages at once. Here was one in its babyhood. It began in a tiny blue spring, and crept out of its cradle in a trickling rivulet you might step across; yet you knew that down below and far away it was twelve miles wide, and harbored ships from the farthest, dimmest ports of the world. Near this spring, in the edge of the forest, they set up their tents and turned their hobbled horses out to graze.

The men fished in the flashing mountain waters and hunted through the gorgeous mountain hollows by day, and at night the whole party ringed about the camp-fire, and the boys and girls sang and played while their elders hearkened and dreamed.

Or perhaps they read from a book of tales, taking turns under a big lantern swung from a pine-bough. So sat Evey the night she read to them of Rosina whose lover had deserted her.

Evey wore a crimson dress that night, and about her shoulders something dark and flowing and shining and silken shielded her from the chill. This she twisted with one hand, while the other played with, or pressed open, the pages of the book on her knee. The braided curls, caught up in a net of woven strands of crimson silk, were beautiful and wonderful as Evey bent her head under the lantern light and read of Rosina whose lover had deserted her.

A pertinent subject, yet at first it was all a succession of dull, dead words to Evey in her living pain. But suddenly she stopped. The words leaped piercing and alive to her eyes, to her brain, and she sat stricken mute, her drooped face white between the crimson-netted curls; and the crimson of her dress out-billowing from under the dark mantle of silk. Then she read on, leaning lower and shading her eyes with her hand.

“ You’ve skipped something, Evey,” accused Isabella from across the circle.

“ She’s tired,” said Richard. He reached over and would have taken the book.

“ I’m not tired at all,” protested Evey, holding it fast.

But he insisted and she surrendered it proudly.

“ Don’t move,” said Richard, “ I can see well enough here.”

He sat pretending to find the place, but in reality reading the words that had stricken Evey dumb.

Was she then,” read Richard, “one of those poor creatures who could not keep their lovers ?

Shamed red streaked Richard’s dark cheek. His abashed blue eyes sought Evey’s dark eyes. They met his with composure gained at a cruel cost. “ I hope you are satisfied,” said Evey’s proud eyes.

Richard’s fell before them. He flung the mischievous volume to the shadows, crouched impishly beyond the firelit circle, and reached for his guitar.

“ It’s a stupid story,” vouchsafed Richard to the cry of protest, and he sang to them of war.

“ The weary to sleep, and the wounded to die,” sang Richard.

“ The wounded to die,” thought Evey. “ That meaning might be for Richard some day.” She had forgiven him much. Now, hardest of all, she forgave him for reading that paragraph.

Late that night, all that night, Evey lay wide-eyed, staring up at the restless leaves that roofed her forest chamber. If her heart had been at ease how it would have loved the fragrant nest in the wood’s edge! On it old Link had lavished cunning and art. He had fashioned Evey a room with corner-posts of living trees, and walls of woven grapevines interlaced with cedar boughs; a room carpeted by gray velvet of old moss, and roofed by wind-stirred scarlet of October leaves. But Evey lay on her blanketed couch of thick-piled arbor-vitæ twigs, unseeing, uncaring, a throbbing pulse of misery in the cool darkness, the sweet silence. Toward morning she dozed a little; but started awake in the false dawn amid a faint, wild, fresh stir of wind-wings and bird-wings.

Words were clear in her brain with the waking: “ Was she thenone of those poor creatures ”—she, Evey, in her spring splendor of soft, crimson-cheeked young beauty ? And no other woman, in some greater strength of beauty, or of goodness, had bereaved her of Richard’s heart. No, far worse, it had been stolen from her by the things of men — by the lure of the night spent rolled in a wet cloak under a dripping pine, by the rushing roll of a drum, by the savagery of a war-cry, by the beckoning of shadows slipping through the dark to fall, a materialized Death, on brothers sleeping in the dawn.

For the first time Evey’s bitterly controlled heart broke the restraint ordered for it by Evey’s tradition-tormented young womanhood. She sat up, nursing her abased silken head in her soft arms, shuddering with sobs, drenched with tears, openly crying out to the infinite and unanswering blankness and darkness, “ Give Richard back to me, O God, — give Richard back to me! ”

The next morning Richard came to where Evey sat dabbling her fingers in the blue river source. “ Evey,” he said.

She looked up slowly and saw that he led his brown colt, and that he was cloaked and booted for riding. We will not tell what Richard saw in Evey’s face when she looked up, for she was trying to hide it.

“ I am going back to my regiment, Evey. I have told every one else goodby.”

Evey still looked at him speechlessly.

“ Won’t you say good-by, Evey ? ”

So this was how God answered prayers. She had journeyed through that dreadful night to this.

Still silent, Evey held out her cold hand. Richard helped her to rise, and stood, still holding it, looking down in troubled thought.

“ Evey,” he said at length, with his abrupt movement and look, “ if you have not kept me, you may be sure it’s because I’m not worth keeping; ” and after his night under the dwarfing stars Richard really believed that. He dropped her cold little hand and waited.

Presently Evey came closer, and lifted her soft arm around his neck, and gave him the sister kiss of farewell he mutely craved of her with his troubled blue eyes.

Her heart would have thrust her from him before she gave it.

“ Please let me,” she pleaded with her heart. “It makes him feel better, and he is going away. Maybe he is going away forever.”

Richard’s face quivered. “ Oh,” he said, stammering, “ no one is so good, so sweet, so beautiful, as you, Evey! ”

He went away with blurred eyes, and stumbling feet, and the brown colt followed. Evey did not look around to see them go; but she heard them going for a long while by a snapped branch, or a dislodged stone along the narrow bridletrail, winding here, winding there, yet dropping ever to the valley where men were playing a tragic, losing game of war.

They did not stay long on the mountain-top after Richard went away. Autumn rains came, early and chill, and drove them to the firesides below. On the way a strange thing happened for Evey. Some accident to a wheel delayed the party for an hour by the river, older now, and eddying in mad play among the rocks. Evey, insensibly wandering apart, picked her way from rock to rock across the stream. Half-way over, a level ledge allured her to a seat on its lichen tapestry. Here she lingered, leaning over, and trailing her fingers in the shallow swirl of water. She had been doing this for ten unconscious minutes perhaps, and they had begun calling her back, when something struck against her numb palm. Her hand involuntarily closed about the object, and she gave a faint, astonished cry.

For this was how Evey got the ring back, the empty little ring, with its emerald heart gone, loosened in some way from its clasping gold, and lost in that tossing, interrupted passage to Evey’s hand.

She carried the ring home, and strung it on a narrow ribbon around her neck, and thereafter when she prayed for Richard to come back to her, and for all to be as it was, she held it in her burning palm. At first, as on that night in her forest room, she prayed with some desperate hope, some childish faith, that a miracle might be wrought by loving and praying; but later she prayed she knew not why, since it was all to be in vain.

In Evey’s corner of the world, engagements, unless actually culminating in wedding invitations, created small comment. One does not chatter over the love affairs of roses and butterflies. Even had it been otherwise people had sadder things to occupy them. There was always death, for one thing. Though the town itself lay pocketed among the hills, with the war eddying around it, yet never touching it, still young men went out to that war, and dead men came back from it, and made it real to the people left behind.

Richard’s father came back so, and Evey’s own brother. Evey wore a black dress now, and her dimmed cheeks were natural enough in a community made up of babies, and sick people, and women, and old, old men. She might stand, as she often did stand, where the linden avenue opened on the high road, so lost in unhappy reverie as to be unconscious of the passer-by. The chances were that the passer-by was lost in unhappy reverie too, for this was the third year of the great war, and Jackson was dead. Only of the children were expected the bright faces which proved even to the saddest that youth and light-heartedness had still a hand in shaping the world. Sometimes it seemed to Evey that but for the children’s faces she would sink down, down in some gulf of dumb, dreamy madness. But Martie’s face alone was enough to illumine with hope a larger place than Lexington.

If rippling, running spring water sparkling in the sunshine of an April morning could be curved and colored into a cool pink rose, you might get some idea of the brightness of Martie’s face when she came visiting Evey. This she was very fond of doing. Evey’s home on the town’s edge had a white pillared magnificence which Martie’s Aunt Martha’s square brick house on Main Street lacked entirely. Evey’s home had spacious interiors, dim and glowing with polished, dark woods, and mirrors narrow and deep between banks of Flemish brass. Back of the house, too, a foreign-looking garden of flowers and shrubs had long ago been laid out, with formal beds, and ordered borders, and summer-houses made of honeysuckle and rose-vine, and a fountain of white marble out of some deserted Roman garden of a far remoter past. These wonderful grounds descended by terraces to the river, and the willow-trees, and to Evey’s brother’s white boat, now never touched, but left ever rising, sinking, ruining on its rusty chain.

Then Evey’s room, white-paneled, widewindowed, opening on an upper portico bowered with clematis; Evey’s room, with a treasure of Evey’s childhood in every little drawer and box. Always Martie hoped Evey would say, “Now we’ll go up to my room, Martie.” And Evey, sweet-hearted as ever in her sadness, always said it. Often she transferred a treasure to Martie: one’s childish things seem to crave to be given to these later children; and sometimes, invoked by Martie’s rapture, her own not distant little girl self came running back to play. One evening in particular Evey was noted to be prattling as volubly and gleefully as Martie herself; but an hour later you might have seen her standing at the end of the linden avenue, gazing along the road by which Richard, alive or dead, would one day surely come; “ but not to me,” mused Evey, never seeing you as you passed, “ not to me.”

Now and again she heard how Richard used his freedom. Once indeed Lexington talked of nothing else for days. Neighbors who had watched him grow up went around saying to each other, “ Have you heard ? ” and the whole town glowed with his name and deed. His mother uplifted a stately white head above her widow’s gown, and his young sister ran to sob out her excitement on Evey’s shoulder, crying, “Why did you give him up, Evey? See how proud you would be of him now! ”

Evey kissed her in a silence which appeared consenting, —even to the Goddess of Truth this reticence might have been conceded, — but her mind was filled with strange radical musings that summer of ’64. What she was really thinking above Isabella’s bowed head would have made Isabella start away from her with incredulous horror in her blue eyes. For Evey was doubting the justice of the Cause, and Evey was thinking that nothing could be worth so much of the heart’s blood of a land’s youth, and Evey was saying to herself, “ I will not be proud of Richard. Other mothers are weeping because his mother is glad. That is all it comes to.’

Evey’s soft body shuddered with hate of the whole horrible war, as she drew herself from Isabella’s arms.

“ Oh,” cried Isabella, her eyes flashing, “ you are cold-hearted — he always said you were cold-hearted, Evey. I am sorry I came to you.”

“ I am not cold-hearted,” said Evey quietly, “ but I am sick of war. How can any woman in this land not be sick of war, Isa ? ”

“ I am not,” defied Isabella. “ I do not begrudge it my father. If I were a man I would be like Richard.”

“ I begrudge it my brother,” said Evey. Her deep eyes shone. “ If I were a man, I would try to stop the war.”

“ I don’t understand you, Evey; you used to think it so glorious.”

“ I was a little fool,” said Evey bitterly. Then she caught Isabella back to her and the two girls cried together before they kissed and parted. Isa might not always understand Evey, but she could not help loving her.

Far out over the hills things had happened which the town was yet to hear of. All over the country men were coming home. Wounded, worn-out, defeated; on horseback, or on foot, they were coming, The dusty highways were dotted and strung with them, the green wood-roads and mountain-trails were blotted with their ragged grayness. One of them, shortcutting by the river-path at sunset, had been halted by the apparition of Bruce’s white skiff, idle under the dipping willows ; and there, leaning his tattered sleeve, with its captain’s stripe, on a tree, Evey found him. He turned her a haggard face of no age, unshorn, dusty, under a sunburned shock of hair.

“ Richard! ” Evey’s startled voice rang, her heart sped forward to new disaster. “ You are not wounded. Did you bring home some — who is — or dead ? ” Her thoughts flew to her father.

Richard shook his head as he came running up the bank. She saw that he controlled trembling lips. He made her sit down on a bench and dropped at her feet.

“ What is it then ? ” Her beating heart shook her to the point of pain.

Richard looked up at her, still biting his lip, fumbling with his cap.

“ O Evey,” he said,“ I have seen Lee surrender! ”

He flung his arm across the bench and hid his eyes in his ragged sleeve.

Evey put her own arm over his head protectingly. Her flowing black sleeve covered it, her hand touched his tense shoulders with comfort. Above him her eyes were luminous with joy. She breathed deeply as one dropping a burden. It seemed to Evey as if all the women in the land must be sending up that blessed sigh of relief, that it must be an audible song ascending to the skies. And Richard was brokenhearted because he was not allowed to fight any longer — poor little boy!

Presently, looking up, Richard reached a hand to Evey’s sleeve, and held it as if it saved as well as sheltered. “ Evey,” he said, and it was plain that the words welled up from his heart, “ I did n’t know I was coming back to you when I started — but, O Evey, will you have me back ? Will you let me belong to you forever?”

Her prayer had been answered. The war that bore Richard from her had cast him back on the steadfast shores of her heart. Why then did Evey sit silent, brooding over him with such a wistful face ?

“ Don’t you love me any more, Evey ? ”

Time at last makes all things even. It was Richard’s turn to ask that. He looked at her, seeing for the first time her pale cheeks.

“It would serve me quite right,” he said sternly, “ if you did not.”

She made a tender, involuntary little movement toward him. Richard’s arms went up, and round her.

“It is not that! ” cried Evey.

Not love him ? Oh, Evey loved him well, only now the love was mingled with past pain, with long sorrow, with sad wisdom too deep by far for Evey’s years. She scarcely knew a way to make clear to Richard how, though her heart was indeed full of this love, it was filled, too, with yearning for love as she had first known it — love unalloyed with life a lifting joy.

So, homesick for a little, green, heartshaped, untried world of youth, she sat, her cheek quietly against Richard’s upreached hand, her fingers twisting at a black ribbon, and playing with an empty ring.

“ Evey! ” cried Richard. He took the ring from her. “ Why, I lost that! ”

“ On purpose ? ” whispered Evey.

“ Yes,” said Richard unsteadily; “ the morning I left you.”

“ The emerald is still lost,” said Evey. She pressed her lips to his torn sleeve.

“ Never mind,” said Richard, still unsteadily, “we’ll take the ring down to Myers in the morning.”

But Myers, in all of his dusty stock, had not another heart-shaped emerald. How could he have, thought Evey, when there was not another in the whole world ?

They chose a ruby finally, and waited in the window-seat behind the geraniums while it was being set in the empty ring. To them in that tiny, timeless, sunny haven, appeared, after seconds, or ages, old Myers, his fine, wise face wrinkled with a musing smile. He stood watching them, two children whom he had known all their lives, while Richard fitted the ring in its old place on Evey’s finger.

So Evey’s lost emerald blossomed at last. Red war, heart’s blood, crimson cheeks of youth, had gone to make up that blossoming. Evey shut the ring suddenly in her palm.

“ Don’t you like it ? ” asked Richard imploringly.

“ I love it,” said Evey, “ only ” — she tried to keep it back, that desperate, childish wail; but it would come, it would burst from her heart. “ Oh, it’s not the same,” cried Evey, “ it’s not the same! ”

They had been married, and living at the old Red Hill place for a year now. Richard had pointed out to Evey that the boy might be safely left with two grandmothers, an old colored mammy, and Martie. Evey had pretended to assent, and was deep in her first stroll with Richard through the summer-time. She hid her anxiety so successfully that Richard thought she was enjoying herself, and proposed a remoter, greener depth, where wilder creek waters narrowed between steeper hillsides, and where, instead of sunshine being sprinkled with shadow, shadow was sprinkled with sunshine.

It seemed to Evey, as Richard spoke, that the baby was receding to a vanishing point of space, that she was being lured to these haunts of girlhood to make her forget that she had a baby at all. She had heard of men being jealous of their children. Was Richard one of these monsters ?

“ I won’t go a step further,” declared Evey.

“Now I’ve tired you!” cried Richard with extravagant self-reproach. He stripped off his coat, and made her sit dowm on it, before she could utter a protest. She fidgeted. What might not be happening to the baby ? She looked suspiciously at Richard, who had stretched himself at her side. His head touched her knee.

“ Evey,” said Richard, — his arms went up and drew her down to his lips, — “ I’m the happiest man in the world.”

“But perhaps,” thought Evey, “it’s because we’re here together—just us two again.” She caught her breath, she dared the question. “You mean—?”

“ Yes,” whispered Richard. He let her go so that he could see up into her eyes. Her white blush answered his look. “ To think of us, Evey, us — having a little son! ”

Awe, old as mankind, thrilled his young voice. He turned his face to her encircling arm, and again her flowing sleeve covered his head, and her tender hand caressed. As she sat thus, a slender ray of sunlight pierced the green leaves and searched out the ruby in her ring. The dazzle drew her eyes, and she gazed, dreaming, smiling, forgetting.

For beautifully beyond all imagining Evey’s lost emerald had blossomed anew, — in scarlet colors of October, and Richard’s hand warm in hers, — in leaping fires of home, and Richard by her side, — in earliest arbutus, and Richard parting the wet dead leaves above it for her to see the rosy face of spring, — in June-time, and red sunrise of new hope, and Richard laying the child in her arms.