AFTERWARD IX

She glanced again at her husband, and was reassured by the composure of his face; yet she felt the need of more definite grounds for her reassurance.

“But doesn’t this suit worry you? Why have you never spoken to me about it?”

He answered both questions at once: “I didn’t speak of it at first because it did worry me–annoyed me, rather. But it’s all ancient history now. Your correspondent must have got hold of a back number of the ‘Sentinel.'”
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She felt a quick thrill of relief. “You mean it’s over? He’s lost his case?”

There was a just perceptible delay in Boyne’s reply. “The suit’s been withdrawn–that’s all.”

But she persisted, as if to exonerate herself from the inward charge of being too easily put off. “Withdrawn because he saw he had no chance?”

“Oh, he had no chance,” Boyne answered.

She was still struggling with a dimly felt perplexity at the back of her thoughts.

“How long ago was it withdrawn?”

He paused, as if with a slight return of his former uncertainty. “I’ve just had the news now; but I’ve been expecting it.”

“Just now–in one of your letters?”

“Yes; in one of my letters.”

She made no answer, and was aware only, after a short interval of waiting, that he had risen, and strolling across the room, had placed himself on the sofa at her side. She felt him, as he did so, pass an arm about her, she felt his hand seek hers and clasp it, and turning slowly, drawn by the warmth of his cheek, she met the smiling clearness of his eyes.

“It’s all right–it’s all right?” she questioned, through the flood of her dissolving doubts; and “I give you my word it never was righter!” he laughed back at her, holding her close…

by: Edith Wharton (1862-1937)

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