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A Modern Cinderella by Amanda Minnie Douglas

Marilla hardly knew how to choose between them


She

was ready to give, not take all.

"Marilla, would I do?"

She raised her head and looked at him out of longing, pleading eyes that turned joyous like a sudden glowing sunrise.

"Oh!" she cried, "Oh!"

But the wonderful satisfying intonation would have moved any heart.

"And I want a little girl," he continued. "I shall never have one of my very own;"--it is the way a man thinks when he knows he cannot have the woman he would choose for the mother of his children.

She was silent. He saw the shining tears beading the curly lashes. She was sorry for him.

"And if you could be _my_ little girl--"

"Oh, if I might!" and the longing freighted her tone. "If I could be good enough--if I could love you enough. Oh, I _would_ try. I should be so happy. To have a father of one's own!"

"Children are sometimes adopted."

"Yes, they were at Bethany Home, but they had to be very pretty, I'm not--very."

"But I love you because you are _you_, I don't want you changed any way. I want a daughter to be a companion as I grow older, to read to me, to confide in me, to come to me in any trouble, to make a real home, for a man alone

cannot do that, and to love me very, very dearly."

"I have always loved you," she said simply. Then after a moment--"would I live with you?"

"Yes, when I have found a pretty home, and you will make friends and have them visit you, and we will take journeys and have pleasures like the Warrens."

"Oh! How good you are!" in a tone of tremulous joy. There was a little twinge of conscience in both hearts concerning Miss Armitage. He salved his, thinking if she had wanted to she might have made some proffer of adoption. Marilla hardly knew how to choose between them. If they could both go and live in Loraine place!

"I'll see Lorimer this afternoon. You have to apply to the legislature, and you will have your name changed to Richards. Maybe the judge or some will one question you whether you are willing to take me for a father, since you are old enough to choose, and there are several formalities, but the thing is often done, and you will be mine, mine," pressing her to his heart in rapture.

"I am so glad." Every pulse throbbed with joy.

He yielded to the subtle satisfaction and kissed the sweet mouth. Oh, he must get her strong and well and give her a lovely, long life! Like a vision he could see her growing sweeter and dearer every year, making life blossom with her love.

Then Mrs. Warren returned and the girls came home to lunch, having a merry time talking over the Hippodrome.


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