stance, from this or any other quarter, you will do nothing without consulting me, you will send for me at once…"
Margaret promised, Margaret swore.
"I want to lean upon your strength. I have so altered I don't know myself. Love has loosened, weakened me. I am no longer as I was, proud, self-reliant. Gabriel, don't let me be sorry that I love you. I am startled by myself, by this new self. What have you done to me? Is this what love means—weakness?"
When she said she needed to lean upon his strength his heart ran like water to her. When she pleaded to him for forgiveness because she had allowed herself to be blackmailed rather than delay their happiness together, his tenderness overflowed and flooded the rock of his logic, of his clear judgment. His arms tightened about her.
"I ought to have come to you whether you said yes or no. I knew you were in trouble."
"Not any longer." She nestled to him.
He thrust aside his misgivings later and gave himself up to soothing and nursing her. Peter Kennedy need have had no fear, but then of course this was a Gabriel Stanton he did not know.
Gabriel would not hear of Margaret coming down to dinner nor into the drawing-room. She was to stay on the sofa in the music room, to have