'And the children have some toys.'

'I didn't know - you ever sent them anything!' she murmured, much moved. 'I almost wish you had not - yes, I almost wish it!'

'Why, dear?'

'It - hampers me so.'

'Tessy - don't you love me ever so little now?'

'I'm grateful,' she reluctantly admitted. 'But I fear I do not--' The sudden vision of his passion for herself as a factor in this result so distressed her that, beginning with one slow tear, and then following with another, she wept outright.

'Don't cry, dear, dear one! Now sit down here, and wait till I come.' She passively sat down amid the leaves he had heaped, and shivered slightly. 'Are you cold?' he asked.

'Not very - a little.'

He touched her with his fingers, which sank into her as into down. 'You have only that puffy muslin dress on - how's that?'

'It's my best summer one. 'Twas very warm when I started, and I didn't know I was going to ride, and that it would be night.'

'Nights grow chilly in September. Let me see.' He pulled off a light overcoat that he had worn, and put it round her tenderly. 'That's it - now you'll feel warmer,' he continued. 'Now, my pretty, rest there; I shall soon be back again.'