Juliet had rested her hand on one of the little posts that support the chain by which the fountain is enclosed and I had laid my hand on hers. Presently she turned her hand over so that mine lay in its palm; and so we were standing hand-in-hand when an elderly gentleman, of dry and legal aspect, came up the steps and passed by the fountain. He looked at the pigeons and then he looked at us, and went his way smiling and shaking his head.
“Juliet,” said I.
She looked up quickly with sparkling eyes and a frank smile that was yet a little shy, too.
“Why did he smile—that old gentleman—when he looked at us?”
“I can’t imagine,” she replied mendaciously.
“It was an approving smile,” I said. “I think he was remembering his own spring-time and giving us his blessing.”
“Perhaps he was,” she agreed. “He looked a nice old thing.” She gazed fondly at the retreating figure and then turned again to me. Her cheeks had grown pink enough by now, and in one of them a dimple displayed itself to great advantage in its rosy setting.
“Can you forgive me, dear, for my unutterable folly?” I asked presently, as she glanced up at me again.
“I am not sure,” she answered. “It was dreadfully silly of you.”
“But remember, Juliet, that I loved you with my whole heart—as I love you now and shall love you always.”
“I can forgive you anything when you say that,” she answered softly.
Here the voice of the distant Temple clock was heard uttering a polite protest. With infinite reluctance we turned away from the fountain, which sprinkled us with a parting benediction, and slowly retraced our steps to Middle Temple Lane and thence into Pump Court.
“You haven’t said it, Juliet,” I whispered, as we came through the archway into the silent, deserted court.
“Haven’t I, dear?” she answered; “but you know it, don’t you? You know I do.”
“Yes, I know,” I said; “and that knowledge is all my heart’s desire.”
She laid her hand in mine for a moment with a gentle pressure and then drew it away; and so we passed through into the cloisters.