Page:"A modern Hercules", the tale of a sculptress (IA amodernherculest00wins).pdf/94

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"Will you, dearest Ouida," pleaded Olivia, "thus drive forth two earnest, loving friends, who desire no higher privilege than to stand by your side?"

"Yes, my dear Ouida," said Connors, "I am not without some power. The strongest effort of my life is yours, absolutely, to command."

"No, friends, go your way. With ourselves alone we must conduct this mighty strife. If we should fail, all I ask is that, when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, paint us as we really were, not as biting tongues, tinged with malice, have told the story of our sin."

"Come, Mr. Connors," said Olivia, "it would be sinful, upon the rough rack of this world, to longer vex the proud spirit of our friends."

"Good-bye, dear friends," said Connors, almost with affection, "and as we say au revoir, let me breathe the earnest prayer, that the Supreme Intelligence will lift you out of the valley of the shadow of grief, so that from the hill tops, you may behold the dawn of a new and nobler life."

They left Ouida together, admiring, yet regretting, that marble pride which prevented Ouida from accepting their proffered sympathy and aid. But a contemplation of the history of Ouida and Horatio, drew them closer together, though no word of love was spoken between the two. Their mutual interest in the fate of their friends provided a bond of sympathy between the two, that bid fair to develop into a deeper and holier connection.