Chapter 12

           Earlyoneevening,strugglingwithasonnetthattwistedallawrythebeautyandthoughtthattrailedinglowandvaporthroughhisbrain,Martinwascalledtothetelephone. 

           "It’salady’svoice,afinelady’s,"Mr.Higginbotham,whohadcalledhim,jeered. 

           Martinwenttothetelephoneinthecorneroftheroom,andfeltawaveofwarmthrushthroughhimasheheardRuth’svoice. Inhisbattlewiththesonnethehadforgottenherexistence,andatthesoundofhervoicehisloveforhersmotehimlikeasuddenblow. Andsuchavoice! delicateandsweet,likeastrainofmusicheardfaroffandfaint,or,better,likeabellofsilver,aperfecttone,crystal-pure. Nomerewomanhadavoicelikethat. Therewassomethingcelestialaboutit,anditcamefromotherworlds. Hecouldscarcelyhearwhatitsaid,soravishedwashe,thoughhecontrolledhisface,forheknewthatMr.Higginbotham’sferreteyeswerefixeduponhim. 

           ItwasnotmuchthatRuthwantedtosaymerelythatNormanhadbeengoingtotakehertoalecturethatnight,butthathehadaheadache,andshewassodisappointed,andshehadthetickets,andthatifhehadnootherengagement,wouldhebegoodenoughtotakeher? 

           Wouldhe! Hefoughttosuppresstheeagernessinhisvoice. Itwasamazing. Hehadalwaysseenherinherownhouse. Andhehadneverdaredtoaskhertogoanywherewithhim. 

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