From the Valley of the Missing - lightnovelgate.com
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Fledra was standing at her father's side, and now for an instant she looked down into the blue eyes through which she saw the yearning heart of her mother. Then she knelt down with Floyd, and they rested their heads in tearful silence under the hands of these dear ones, who trembled with thankfulness.
The last fifteen years flashed as a panorama across the governor's mind.
That day he had discharged his debt to Lon Cronk by placing the squatter where his diseased mind could be treated, and he had insisted that his own name and home should be Katharine's, the same as of yore. It was not until Mildred opened the door and entered hesitantly that he raised his head. Silently he held out his arms and drew his baby girl into them.
Horace's first duty when he returned to Tarrytown was to make Ann as comfortable as he could. She had borne up well under the tragedy, and smiled at him bravely as he left for Vandecar's. The governor met him in the hall and drew him into his library.
"I must speak with you, boy, before--"
"Then I may talk with Fledra?"
The governor hesitated.
"She is so young yet, Horace! I beg of you to wait, won't you? There are many things to be attended to before she can leave her mother and me.
We've only just found her."
"I must see her, though," replied Horace stubbornly.
"You shall, if you will promise me--"
"I won't promise anything," said Horace, slowly raising his eyes. "After I have spoken to her, we'll decide."
Vandecar sighed and touched the bell.
"Say to Miss Fledra that I wish to speak with her," he said to the servant.
After a moment they heard her coming through the hall. Vandecar placed his hand upon Horace's arm; but the young man flung it off as the door opened and Fledra came in. Her face was still pale and wan. Her eyes darkened by circles, testified to the misery of the days since she had left him. Horace spoke her name softly, held out his arms, and she fled into them. He pressed her head closely to his breast, smoothing the black curls, while blinding tears coursed down his face. The governor turned from them to the window. He stood there, until Horace asked huskily:
"Fledra, Fledra, do you still love me? Oh, say that you do! I'm perishing to be forgiven for my lack of faith in you. Can you forgive me, beloved?"
"I love you, Horace," she murmured, lifting bright, shy eyes. "And I love my beautiful mother, too, and--oh, I--worship my splendid father."
She held out one hand to Governor Vandecar, over which the father closed his fingers. Then she threw back her head and smiled at them both.
"I'm going to stay with my mother till she gets well. I'm goin' to help Floyd till he walks as well as ever. Then I'm goin' to study and read till my father's satisfied. Then, after that," she turned a radiant glance on both men, and ended, "when he wants me, I'll go with my Prince."