“Of course. Who else should it be?”

“He didn’t say—you talked about her most—and so we thought—” stammered Polly, falling into a sudden flutter.

“That I was in love? Well I am, but not with her.”

“Oh!” and Polly caught her breath as if a dash of cold water had fallen on her, for the more in earnest Tom grew, the blunter he became.

“Do you want to know the name of the girl I’ve loved for more than a year? Well, it’s Polly!” As he spoke, Tom stretched out his arms to her, with the sort of mute eloquence that cannot be resisted, and Polly went straight into them, without a word.

Never mind what happened for a little bit. Love scenes, if genuine, are indescribable; for to those who have enacted them, the most elaborate description seems tame, and to those who have not, the simplest picture seems overdone. So romancers had better let imagination paint for them that which is above all art, and leave their lovers to themselves during the happiest minutes of their lives.

Before long, Tom and Polly were sitting side by side, enjoying the blissful state of mind which usually follows the first step out of our workaday world, into the glorified region wherein lovers rapturously exist for a month or two. Tom just sat and looked at Polly as if he found it difficult to believe that the winter of his discontent had ended in this glorious spring. But Polly, being a true woman, asked questions, even while she laughed and cried for joy.

“Now, Tom, how could I know you loved me when you went away and never said a word?” she began, in a tenderly reproachful tone, thinking of the hard year she had spent.

“And how could I have the courage to say a word, when I had nothing on the face of the earth to offer you but my worthless self?” answered Tom, warmly.

“That was all I wanted!” whispered Polly, in a tone which caused him to feel that the race of angels was not entirely extinct.

“I’ve always been fond of you, my Polly, but I never realized how fond till just before I went away. I wasn’t free, you know, and besides I had a strong impression that you liked Sydney in spite of the damper which Fan hinted you gave him last winter. He’s such a capital fellow, I really don’t see how you could help it.”

“It is strange; I don’t understand it myself; but women are queer creatures, and there’s no accounting for their tastes,” said Polly, with a sly look, which Tom fully appreciated.

“You were so good to me those last days, that I came very near speaking out, but couldn’t bear to seem to be offering you a poor, disgraced sort of fellow, whom Trix wouldn’t have, and no one seemed to think worth much. ‘No,’ I said to myself, ‘Polly ought to have the best; if Syd can get her, let him, and I won’t say a word. I’ll try to be better worthy her friendship, anyway; and perhaps when I’ve proved that I can do something, and am not ashamed to work, then, if Polly is free, I shan’t be afraid to try my chance.’ So I held my tongue, worked like a horse, satisfied myself and others that I could get my living honestly, and then came home to see if there was any hope for me.”

“And I was waiting for you all the time,” said a soft voice close to his shoulder; for Polly was much touched by Tom’s manly efforts to deserve her.

“I didn’t mean to do it the first minute, but look about me a little, and be sure Syd was all right. But Fan’s news settled that point, and just now the look in my Polly’s face settled the other. I couldn’t wait another

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