love and desire fulfilled that she uttered a low moan, relaxed her hands, and lay half-swooning in his arms.
Not a word had been spoken, and not a word was spoken for a long time. Twice he bent and kissed her, and each time her lips met his shyly and her body made its happy, nestling movement. She clung to him, unable to release herself, and he sat, half supporting her in his arms, as he gazed with unseeing eyes at the blur of the great city across the bay. For once there were no visions in his brain. Only colors and lights and glows pulsed there, warm as the day and warm as his love. He bent over her. She was speaking.
When did you love me? she whispered.
From the first, the very first, the first moment I laid eye on you. I was mad for love of you then, and in all the time that has passed since then I have only grown the madder. I am maddest, now, dear. I am almost a lunatic, my head is so turned with joy.
I am glad I am a woman, Martin dear, she said, after a long sigh.
He crushed her in his arms again and again, and then asked:-
And you? When did you first know?
Oh, I knew it all the time, almost, from the first.
And I have been as blind as a bat! he cried, a ring of vexation in his voice. I never dreamed it until just how, when I when I kissed you.
I didnt mean that. She drew herself partly away and looked at him. I meant I knew you loved almost from the first.
And you? he demanded.
It came to me suddenly. She was speaking very slowly, her eyes warm and fluttery and melting, a soft flush on her cheeks that did not go away. I never knew until just now when you put your arms around me. And I never expected to marry you, Martin, not until just now. How did you make me love you?
I dont know, he laughed, unless just by loving you, for I loved you hard enough to melt the heart of a stone, much less the heart of the living, breathing woman you are.
This is so different from what I thought love would be, she announced irrelevantly.
What did you think it would be like?
I didnt think it would be like this. She was looking into his eyes at the moment, but her own dropped as she continued, You see, I didnt know what this was like.
He offered to draw her toward him again, but it was no more than a tentative muscular movement of the girdling arm, for he feared that he might be greedy. Then he felt her body yielding, and once again she was close in his arms and lips were pressed on lips.
What will my people say? she queried, with sudden apprehension, in one of the pauses.
I dont know. We can find out very easily any time we are so minded.
But if mamma objects? I am sure I am afraid to tell her.
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