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The Hermit of Far End By Margaret Pedler Characters: 2876

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:04

"Thank God, she's only stunned!"

The words, percolating slowly through the thick, blankety mist that seemed to have closed about her, impressed themselves on Sara's mind with a vague, confused suggestion of their pertinence. It was as though some one-she wasn't quite sure who-had suddenly given voice to her own immediate sensation of relief.

At first she could not imagine for what reason she should feel so specially grateful and relieved. Gradually, however, the mists began to clear away and recollection of a kind returned to her.

She remembered dropping something-she couldn't recall precisely what it was that she had dropped, but she knew she had made a wild clutch at it and tried to save it as it fell. Then-she was remembering more distinctly now-something against which she had been leaning-she couldn't recall what that was, either-gave way suddenly, and for the fraction of a second she had known she was going to fall and be killed, or, at the least, horribly hurt and mutilated.

And now, it seemed, she had not been hurt at all! She was in no pain; only her head felt unaccountably heavy. But for that, she was really very comfortable. Some one was holding her-it was almost like lying back in a chair-and against her cheek she could feel the soft warmth of fur.


It was Garth's voice, quite close to her ear. He was holding her in his arms.

Ah! She knew now! They were on the island t

ogether, and he had just asked her if she cared. Of course she cared! It was sheer happiness to lie in his arms, with closed eyes, and hear his voice-that deep, unhappy voice of his-grow suddenly so incredibly soft and tender.

"You're mine, now, sweet! Mine to hold just for this once, dear of my heart!"

No, that couldn't be right, after all, because it wasn't Garth who loved her. He had only pretended to care for her by way of amusing himself. It must be Tim who was talking to her-Tim, whom she was going to marry.

Then, suddenly, the mists cleared quite away, and Sara came back to full consciousness and to the knowledge of where she was and of what had happened.

Her first instinct, to open her eyes and speak, was checked by a swift, unexpected movement on the part of Garth. All at once, he had gathered her up into his arms, and, holding her face pressed close against his own, was pouring into her ears a torrent of burning, passionate words of love-love triumphant, worshipping, agonizing, and last of all, brokenly, desperately abandoning all right or claim.

"And I've got to live without you . . . die without you . . . My God, it's hard!"

In the darkness and solitude of the night-as he believed, alone with the unconscious form of the woman he loved in his arms-Garth bared his very soul. There was nothing hidden any longer, and Sara knew at last that even as she herself loved, so was she loved again.

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