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Chapter IV
 The work of weeks is soon recorded, and when another month was gone these were the changes it had wrought1. The four so strangely bound together by ties of suffering and sin went on their way, to the world's eye, blessed with every gracious gift, but below the tranquil2 surface rolled that undercurrent whose mysterious tides ebb3 and flow in human hearts unfettered by race or rank or time. Gilbert was a good actor, but, though he curbed4 his fitful temper, smoothed his mien5, and sweetened his manner, his wife soon felt the vanity of hoping to recover that which never had been hers. Silently she accepted the fact and, uttering no complaint, turned to others for the fostering warmth without which she could not live. Conscious of a hunger like her own, Manuel could offer her sincerest sympathy, and soon learned to find a troubled pleasure in the knowledge that she loved him and her husband knew it, for his life of the emotions was rapidly maturing the boy into the man, as the fierce ardors of his native skies quicken the growth of wondrous8 plants that blossom in a night. Mrs. Redmond, as young in character as in years, felt the attraction of a nature generous and sweet, and yielded to it as involuntarily as an unsupported vine yields to the wind that blows it to the strong arms of a tree, still unconscious that a warmer sentiment than gratitude9 made his companionship the sunshine of her life. Pauline saw this, and sometimes owned within herself that she had evoked10 spirits which she could not rule, but her purpose drove her on, and in it she found a charm more perilously11 potent12 than before. Gilbert watched the three with a smile darker than a frown, yet no reproach warned his wife of the danger which she did not see; no jealous demonstration13 roused Manuel to rebel against the oppression of a presence so distasteful to him; no rash act or word gave Pauline power to banish14 him, though the one desire of his soul became the discovery of the key to the inscrutable expression of her eyes as they followed the young pair, whose growing friendship left their mates alone. Slowly her manner softened15 toward him, pity seemed to bridge across the gulf16 that lay between them, and in rare moments time appeared to have retraced17 its steps, leaving the tender woman of a year ago. Nourished by such unexpected hope, the early passion throve and strengthened until it became the mastering ambition of his life, and, only pausing to make assurance doubly sure, he waited the advent18 of the hour when he could “put his fortune to the touch and win or lose it all.”  
“Manuel, are you coming?”
He was lying on the sward at Mrs. Redmond's feet, and, waking from the reverie that held him, while his companion sang the love lay he was teaching her, he looked up to see his wife standing19 on the green slope before him. A black lace scarf lay over her blonde hair as Spanish women wear their veils, below it the violet eyes shone clear, the cheek glowed with the color fresh winds had blown upon their paleness, the lips parted with a wistful smile, and a knot of bright-hued leaves upon her bosom20 made a mingling21 of snow and fire in the dress, whose white folds swept the grass. Against a background of hoary22 cliffs and somber23 pines, this figure stood out like a picture of blooming womanhood, but Manuel saw three blemishes24 upon it—Gilbert had sketched25 her with that shadowy veil upon her head, Gilbert had swung himself across a precipice26 to reach the scarlet27 nosegay for her breast, Gilbert stood beside her with her hand upon his arm; and troubled by the fear that often haunted him since Pauline's manner to himself had grown so shy and sad, Manuel leaned and looked forgetful of reply, but Mrs. Redmond answered blithely28:
“He is coming, but with me. You are too grave for us, so go your ways, talking wisely of heaven and earth, while we come after, enjoying both as we gather lichens29, chase the goats, and meet you at the waterfall. Now señor, put away guitar and book, for I have learned my lesson; so help me with this unruly hair of mine and leave the Spanish for today.”
They looked a pair of lovers as Manuel held back the long locks blowing in the wind, while Babie tied her hat, still chanting the burthen of the tender song she had caught so soon. A voiceless sigh stirred the ruddy leaves on Pauline's bosom as she turned away, but Gilbert embodied30 it in words, “They are happier without us. Let us go.”
Neither spoke31 till they reached the appointed tryst32. The others were not there, and, waiting for them, Pauline sat on a mossy stone, Gilbert leaned against the granite33 boulder34 beside her, and both silently surveyed a scene that made the heart glow, the eye kindle35 with delight as it swept down from that airy height, across valleys dappled with shadow and dark with untrodden forests, up ranges of majestic36 mountains, through gap after gap, each hazier37 than the last, far out into that sea of blue which rolls around all the world. Behind them roared the waterfall swollen38 with autumn rains and hurrying to pour itself into the rocky basin that lay boiling below, there to leave its legacy39 of shattered trees, then to dash itself into a deeper chasm40, soon to be haunted by a tragic41 legend and go glittering away through forest, field, and intervale to join the river rolling slowly to the sea. Won by the beauty and the grandeur42 of the scene, Pauline forgot she was not alone, till turning, she suddenly became aware that while she scanned the face of nature her companion had been scanning hers. What he saw there she could not tell, but all restraint had vanished from his manner, all reticence43 from his speech, for with the old ardor7 in his eye, the old impetuosity in his voice, he said, leaning down as if to read her heart, “This is the moment I have waited for so long. For now you see what I see, that both have made a bitter blunder, and may yet repair it. Those children love each other; let them love, youth mates them, fortune makes them equals, fate brings them together that we may be free. Accept this freedom as I do, and come out into the world with me to lead the life you were born to enjoy.”
With the first words he uttered Pauline felt that the time had come, and in the drawing of a breath was ready for it, with every sense alert, every power under full control, every feature obedient to the art which had become a second nature. Gilbert had seized her hand, and she did not draw it back; the sudden advent of the instant which must end her work sent an unwonted color to her cheek, and she did avert44 it; the exultation45 which flashed into her eyes made it unsafe to meet his own, and they drooped46 before him as if in shame or fear, her whole face woke and brightened with the excitement that stirred her blood. She did not seek to conceal47 it, but let him cheat himself with the belief that love touched it with such light and warmth, as she softly answered in a voice whose accents seemed to assure his hope.
“You ask me to relinquish48 much. What do you offer in return, Gilbert, that I may not for a second time find love's labor49 lost?”
It was a wily speech, though sweetly spoken, for it reminded him how much he had thrown away, how little now remained to give, but her mien inspired him, and nothing daunted50, he replied more ardently51 than ever:
“I can offer you a heart always faithful in truth though not in seeming, for I never loved that child. I would give years of happy life to undo52 that act and be again the man you trusted. I can offer you a name which shall yet be an honorable one, despite the stain an hour's madness cast upon it. You once taunted53 me with cowardice54 because I dared not face the world and conquer it. I dare do that now; I long to escape from this disgraceful servitude, to throw myself into the press, to struggle and achieve for your dear sake. I can offer you strength, energy, devotion—three gifts worthy55 any woman's acceptance who possesses power to direct, reward, and enjoy them as you do, Pauline. Because with your presence for my inspiration, I feel that I can retrieve56 my faultful past, and with time become God's noblest work—an honest man. Babie never could exert this influence over me. You can, you will, for now my earthly hope is in your hands, my soul's salvation57 in your love.”
If that love had not died a sudden death, it would have risen up to answer him as the one sincere desire of an erring58 life cried out to her for help, and this man, as proud as sinful, knelt down before her with a passionate59 humility60<............
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