） has been in no haste to come home, and I am in no haste to leave it. Don’t wait for me, ‘Mr. and Mrs. Harry10 Walmers, Jr.,’ I shall be a year at least making up my mind, so you may lead off as splendidly as you like and I’ll profit by your experience.” And Rose vanished into the parlor, leaving Steve to groan11 over the perversity12 of superior women and Kitty to comfort him by promising13 to marry him on May Day “all alone.”
A very different couple occupied the drawing room, but a happier one, for they had known the pain of separation and were now enjoying the bliss14 of a reunion which was to last unbroken for their lives. Phebe sat in an easy chair, resting from her labors15, pale and thin and worn, but lovelier in Archie’s eyes than ever before. It was very evident that he was adoring his divinity, for, after placing a footstool at her feet, he had forgotten to get up and knelt there with his elbow on the arm of her chair, looking like a thirsty man drinking long drafts of the purest water.
“Shall I disturb you if I pass through?” asked Rose, loath16 to spoil the pretty tableau17.
“Not if you stop a minute on the way and congratulate me, Cousin, for she says ‘yes’ at last!” cried Archie, springing up to go and bring her to the arms Phebe opened as she appeared.
“I knew she would reward your patience and put away her pride when both had been duly tried,” said Rose, laying the tired head on her bosom with such tender admiration18 in her eyes that Phebe had to shake some bright drops from her own before she could reply in a tone of grateful humility19 that showed how much her heart was touched: “How can I help it, when they are all so kind to me? Any pride would melt away under such praise and thanks and loving wishes as I’ve had today, for every member of the family has taken pains to welcome me, to express far too much gratitude20, and to beg me to be one of you. I needed very little urging, but when Archie’s father and mother came and called me ‘daughter,’ I would have promised anything to show my love for them.”