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Octavie felt as if she had passed into a stage of existence
which was like a dream, more poignant and real than life.
There was the old gray house with its sloping eaves.
Amid the blur of green, and dimly, she saw familiar faces
and heard voices as if they came from far across the fields,
and Edmond was holding her. Her dead Edmond; her living Edmond,
and she felt the beating of his heart against her and the agonizing
rapture of his kisses striving to awake her. It was as if the spirit
of life and the awakening spring had given back the soul to her youth
and bade her rejoice.
It was many hours later that Octavie drew the locket from her
bosom and looked at Edmond with a questioning appeal in her glance.
"It was the night before an engagement," he said. "In the
hurry of the encounter, and the retreat next day, I never missed it
till the fight was over. I thought of course I had lost it in the
heat of the struggle, but it was stolen."
"Stolen," she shuddered, and thought of the dead soldier with
his face uplifted to the sky in an agony of supplication.
Edmond said nothing; but he thought of his messmate; the one
who had lain far back in the shadow; the one who had said nothing.
Some people are born with a vital and responsive energy. It
not only enables them to keep abreast of the times; it qualifies
them to furnish in their own personality a good bit of the motive
power to the mad pace. They are fortunate beings. They do not
need to apprehend the significance of things. They do not grow
weary nor miss step, nor do they fall out of rank and sink by the
wayside to be left contemplating the moving procession.