After Many Years.

SHE met him in her teens, when life's glamour was upon them. She was simple and unsophisticated; he, high-spirited and manly. In her twenties, they drifted apart in pride and misunderstanding. The “eternal love” of a boy and a girl became a thing of far-back memories.

In her thirties, she one day entered a railway-carriage—a smiling, gracious woman of the world. In the carriage was a single

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occupant. She bowed and smiled as she recognised her fellow-traveller, then sank into a window-corner and tried to think of nothing in particular as she watched the disappearing trees and cottages. It would take two hours to reach the next station.

How long it was since they had met, and how dear he had been! Even now she could feel his lips upon her hair, and his strong hands imprisoning hers. She glanced towards him. What a look of pain was on his face! He, too, must be thinking. Again she looked. Without a word he held out his arms. Ah! how sweet the time when she could creep into them as into a sheltered fold.

Suddenly the weight of years rolled from her. She was a girl again, and he her king. Throwing aside her heavy cloak she swept towards him with a sob that was almost a gasp, and the next moment was folded close in his embrace, her face buried on his shoulder.

“O, Frank!” she cried. “Frank, forgive me! I did kiss Charlie on the balcony that evening; but I never thought such a slight sin would bring so great a punishment.”

“My love!” he answered, “at last we understand each other!”

“At last!” she echoed, as she held up her red lips for a kiss, and almost unconsciously pushed the brown curls from off his forehead as in past days.

“Oh, why was fate so cruel? Why were we parted so long?”

“Nothing shall part us again, Nellie.”

“No, nothing in Heaven or on earth. I am yours now, and for ever and ever.”

Once again were passionate kisses given and returned, once again was the golden head cushioned on the heart that made so sweet a resting-place.

“How far are you going, Frank?”

“To the end of the world, pet; to the very end of our lives together.”

She lifted her head, and half drew herself from his arms.

“What do you mean?”

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“I mean what you said just now, that nothing in Heaven or on earth shall take you from me, or me from you again.”

“I was mad!” she answered. “But let me be yours for five minutes longer; then—love must die and life end. Kiss me again—again!”

The train whistled. She tore herself from his arms, threw on her cloak, and took her sunshade from the rack.

He stood before her, wonder-stricken.

“Good-bye,” she said, bowing and smiling; and the same gracious woman who had entered the carriage at the last station left it at this; and, without a trace of emotion on her fair face, joined her husband and children on the platform.