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hesitating, Tom took silence for consent, and passed his arm about her waist and
whispered the tale ever so softly, with his mouth close to her ear. And then he
added: “Now you whisper it to me-just the same.” She resisted, for a while, and
then said: “You turn your face away so you can’t see, and then I will. But you
mustn’t ever tell anybody-will you, Tom? Now you won’t, will you?” “No,
indeed indeed I won’t. Now Becky.”

He turned his face away. She bent timidly around till her breath stirred his curls
and whispered, “I-love-you!” Then she sprang away and ran around and
around the desks and benches, with Tom after her, and took refuge in a corner at
last, with her little white apron to her face. Tom clasped her about her neck and
pleaded: “Now Becky, it’s all done-all over but the kiss. Don’t you be afraid of
that-it ain’t anything at all. Please, Becky.”- And he tugged at her apron and the

By and by she gave up, and let her hands drop; her face, all glowing with the
struggle, came up and submitted. Tom kissed the red lips and said: “Now it’s all
done, Becky. And always after this, you know, you ain’t ever to love anybody
but me, and you ain’t ever to marry anybody but me, never never and forever.
Will you?” “No, I’ll never love anybody but you, Tom, and I’ll never marry
anybody but you-and you ain’t to ever marry anybody but me, either.”
“Certainly. Of course. That’s part of it. And always coming to school or when
we’re going home, you’re to walk with me, when there ain’t anybody
lookingand you choose me and I choose you at parties, because that’s the way
you do when you’re engaged.” “It’s so nice. I never heard of it before.” “O it’s
ever so gay! Why me and Amy Lawrence”-
The big eyes told Tom his blunder and he stopped, confused.

“O, Tom! Then I ain’t the first you’ve ever been engaged to!” The child began to
cry. Tom said: “O don’t cry, Becky, I don’t care for her any more.” “Yes you do,
Tom,- you know you do.” Tom tried to put his arm about her neck, but she
pushed him away and turned her face to the wall, and went on crying. Tom
tried again, with soothing words in his mouth, and was repulsed again. Then his
pride was up, and he strode away and went outside. He stood about, restless
and uneasy, for a while, glancing at the door, every now and then, hoping she
would repent and come to find him. But she did not. Then he began to feel badly
and fear that he was in the wrong. It was a hard struggle with him to make new
advances, now, but he nerved himself to it and entered. She was still standing
back there in the corner, sobbing, with her face to the wall.

Tom’s heart smote him. He went to her and stood a moment, not knowing
exactly how to proceed. Then he said hesitatingly: “Becky, I don’t care for
anybody but you.” No reply-but sobs.

“Becky,”- pleadingly. “Becky, won’t you say something?” More sobs.
Tom got out his chiefest jewel, a brass knob from the top of an andiron, and
passed it around her so that she could see it, and said: “Please, Becky, won’t you
take it?” She struck it to the floor. Then Tom marched out of the house and over
the hills and far away, to return to school no more that day. Presently Becky

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