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   Chapter 37 THE KISS OF THE BRIDE

The One Woman By Thomas Dixon Characters: 2838

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02


For a quarter of an hour the Governor sat and talked with Lucy, waiting the arrival of Gordon and Ruth. The warden arranged that they should meet in the adjoining room alone.

No eye save God's saw their meeting. Those who waited only heard through the heavy curtains half articulate cries like the soft crooning of a mother over her babe.

When they entered the room and Lucy had clung passionately for a moment to the neck of the tall, gaunt figure, the Governor took his hand.

"I have accepted Ruth's word and yours for the truth in this case,

Frank Gordon. I have grown to know that she is the soul of truth.

I heard you preach once from the text, 'He saved others, himself he

could not save.' I did not know then what you were talking about.

I know now-"

"Oh, Morris," Ruth broke in, "we will always love you as the nearest and dearest friend on earth."

"As for you, Frank Gordon," he went on. "I could no longer hate you if I tried. In the presence of a love so pure, so divine as that which hallows your life, I uncover my head. I am on holy ground-I am in the presence of the living God."

He turned away, and Ruth broke into a sob, while the man by her side hung his head and sat down as though too weak to stand.

The Governor lifted Gordon from the seat, seized Ruth's hand and placed it in his.

"I know your heart's desire, Ruth," he said, slowly, "I have an officer of the l

aw here to perform a marriage ceremony. Holding your first marriage a divine sacrament, you once planned a civil one in this grim prison. No matter how I learned this: it shall be so to-day."

The magistrate advanced and pronounced them husband and wife, sat down by a desk, and made out the record.

The Governor rose and handed the official pardon to Gordon.

"To you I give life."

He tore the other paper into two parts by its dotted lines, handed

Ruth one half and held the other in his trembling fingers.

"This, Ruth, is your marriage certificate"-he paused-"and my death warrant. Frank Gordon, we have changed places."

Again the woman sobbed.

"You have forgotten something, Morris," she answered, wistfully.

"Yes, I know: myself."

"It is your right to kiss the bride," she said, softly, "and I wish it."

He stooped and reverently touched her forehead. And when he turned away Lucy stood before him, her soft young bosom, neck and face crimson, her eyes dancing, and the sweet little mouth quivering.

"May I kiss you, Governor?" she cried, tremblingly. "You are my hero!"

Her bare arms flashed around his neck, and her warm lips met his.

In the mansion on the hill at Albany, the Governor sat that night in his magnificent room alone until the dawn of day, holding in his hand an old battered tintype picture of a laughing girl standing beside a poor young lawyer.

THE END

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