Emily's Quest

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Dean was not looking at Emily. He was leaning on the old sundial and scowling down at it with the air of a man who was forcing himself to say a disagreeable thing because he felt it was his duty.

"I won't be just a mere scribbler of pretty stories," cried Emily rebelliously. He looked into her face. She was as tall as he was—a trifle taller, though he would not admit it.

"You do not need to be anything but what you are," he said in a low vibrant tone. "A woman such as this old New Moon has never seen before. You can do more with those eyes—that smile—than you can ever do with your pen."

"You sound like Great-aunt Nancy Priest," said Emily cruelly and contemptuously.

But had he not been cruel and contemptuous to her? Three o'clock that night found her wide-eyed and anguished. She had lain through sleepless hours face to face with two hateful convictions. One was that she could never do anything worth doing with her pen. The other was that she was going to lose Dean's friendship. For friendship was all she could give him and it would not satisfy him. She must hurt him. And oh, how could she hurt Dean whom life had used so cruelly? She had said "no" to Andrew Murray and laughed a refusal to Perry Miller without a qualm. But this was an utterly different thing.

Emily sat up in bed in the darkness and moaned in a despair that was none the less real and painful because of the indisputable fact that thirty years later she might be wondering what on earth she had been moaning about.

"I wish there were no such things as lovers and love-making in the world," she said with savage intensity, honestly believing she meant it.

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