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HOME > Classical Novels > The House Behind the Cedars33 > 32 THE POWER OF LOVE
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 After Tryon's failure to obtain an interview with Rena through Plato's connivance1, he decided2 upon a different course of procedure. In a few days her school term would be finished. He was not less desirous to see her, was indeed as much more eager as opposition3 would be likely to make a very young man who was accustomed to having his own way, and whose heart, as he had discovered, was more deeply and permanently4 involved than he had imagined. His present plan was to wait until the end of the school; then, when Rena went to Clinton on the Saturday or Monday to draw her salary for the month, he would see her in the town, or, if necessary, would follow her to Patesville. No power on earth should keep him from her long, but he had no desire to interfere5 in any way with the duty which she owed to others. When the school was over and her work completed, then he would have his innings. Writing letters was too unsatisfactory a method of communication—he must see her face to face.  
The first of his three days of waiting had passed, when, about ten o'clock on the morning of the second day, which seemed very long in prospect6, while driving along the road toward Clinton, he met Plato, with a rabbit trap in his hand.
"Well, Plato," he asked, "why are you absent from the classic shades of the academy to-day?"
"Hoddy, Mars Geo'ge. W'at wuz dat you say?"
"Why are you not at school to-day?"
"Ain' got no teacher, Mars Geo'ge. Teacher's gone!"
"Gone!" exclaimed Tryon, with a sudden leap of the heart. "Gone where? What do you mean?"
"Teacher got los' in de swamp, night befo' las', 'cause Plato wa'n't dere ter show her de way out'n de woods. Elder Johnson foun' 'er wid dawgs and tawches, an' fotch her home an' put her ter bed. No school yistiddy. She wuz out'n her haid las' night, an' dis mawnin' she wuz gone."
"Gone where?"
"Dey don' nobody know whar, suh."
Leaving Plato abruptly7, Tryon hastened down the road toward Elder Johnson's cabin. This was no time to stand on punctilio. The girl had been lost in the woods in the storm, amid the thunder and lightning and the pouring rain. She was sick with fright and exposure, and he was the cause of it all. Bribery8, corruption9, and falsehood had brought punishment in their train, and the innocent had suffered while the guilty escaped. He must learn at once what had become of her. Reaching Elder Johnson's house, he drew up by the front fence and gave the customary halloa, which summoned a woman to the door.
"Good-morning," he said, nodding unconsciously, with the careless politeness of a gentleman to his inferiors. "I'm Mr. Tryon. I have come to inquire about the sick teacher."
"Why, suh," the woman replied respectfully, "she got los' in de woods night befo' las', an' she wuz out'n her min' most er de time yistiddy. Las' night she must 'a' got out er bed an' run away w'en eve'ybody wuz soun' asleep, fer dis mawnin' she wuz gone, an' none er us knows whar she is."
"Has any search been made for her?"
"Yas, suh, my husban' an' de child'en has been huntin' roun' all de mawnin', an' he's gone ter borry a hoss now ter go fu'ther. But Lawd knows dey ain' no tellin' whar she'd go, 'less'n she got her min' back sence she lef'."
Tryon's mare10 was in good condition. He ............
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