"You may come," answered Betty, half amused and half provoked at his persistence. "I
should think you would know that such permission invariably goes with a young
"Hello, here you are. What a time I have had in finding you," said Isaac, coming up with
flushed face and eyes bright with excitement. "Alfred, what do you mean by hiding the
belle of the dance away like this? I want to dance with you, Betts. I am having a fine
time. I have not danced anything but Indian dances for ages. Sorry to take her away,
Alfred. I can see she doesn't want to go. Ha! Ha!" and with a mischievous look at both of
them he led Betty away.
Alfred kept his seat awhile lost in thought. Suddenly he remembered that it would look
strange if he did not make himself agreeable, so he got up and found a partner. He
danced with Alice, Lydia, and the other young ladies. After an hour he slipped away to
his room. He wished to be alone. He wanted to think; to decide whether it would be best
for him to stay at the fort, or ride away in the darkness and never return. With the
friendly touch of Betty's hand the madness with which he had been battling for weeks
rushed over him stronger than ever. The thrill of that soft little palm remained with him,
and he pressed the hand it had touched to his lips.
For a long hour he sat by his window. He could dimly see the broad winding river, with
its curtain of pale gray mist, and beyond, the dark outline of the forest. A cool breeze
from the water fanned his heated brow, and the quiet and solitude soothed him.