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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 210 pages of information about Adventure.

“I don’t know—­just because I do, I guess.  And that’s all the satisfaction you gave me when we had that man-talk.  But I have been loving you for weeks—­during all the time you have been so deliciously and unobtrusively jealous of Tudor.”

“Yes, yes, go on,” he urged breathlessly, when she paused.

“I wondered when you’d break out, and because you didn’t I loved you all the more.  You were like Dad, and Von.  You could hold yourself in check.  You didn’t make a fool of yourself.”

“Not until to-day,” he suggested.

“Yes, and I loved you for that, too.  It was about time.  I began to think you were never going to bring up the subject again.  And now that I have offered myself you haven’t even accepted.”

With both hands on her shoulders he held her at arm’s-length from him and looked long into her eyes, no longer cool but seemingly pervaded with a golden flush.  The lids drooped and yet bravely did not droop as she returned his gaze.  Then he fondly and solemnly drew her to him.

“And how about that hearth and saddle of your own?” he asked, a moment later.

“I well-nigh won to them.  The grass house is my hearth, and the Martha my saddle, and—­and look at all the trees I’ve planted, to say nothing of the sweet corn.  And it’s all your fault anyway.  I might never have loved you if you hadn’t put the idea into my head.”

“There’s the Nongassla coming in around the point with her boats out,” Sheldon remarked irrelevantly.  “And the Commissioner is on board.  He’s going down to San Cristoval to investigate that missionary killing.  We’re in luck, I must say.”

“I don’t see where the luck comes in,” she said dolefully.  “We ought to have this evening all to ourselves just to talk things over.  I’ve a thousand questions to ask you.”

“And it wouldn’t have been a man-talk either,” she added.

“But my plan is better than that.”  He debated with himself a moment.  “You see, the Commissioner is the one official in the islands who can give us a license.  And—­there’s the luck of it—­Doctor Welshmere is here to perform the ceremony.  We’ll get married this evening.”

Joan recoiled from him in panic, tearing herself from his arms and going backward several steps.  He could see that she was really frightened.

“I . . .  I thought . . .” she stammered.

Then, slowly, the change came over her, and the blood flooded into her face in the same amazing blush he had seen once before that day.  Her cool, level-looking eyes were no longer level-looking nor cool, but warmly drooping and just unable to meet his, as she came toward him and nestled in the circle of his arms, saying softly, almost in a whisper,—­

“I am ready, Dave.”

FOOTNOTES

{1} Eaten.

{2} Food.

{3} Mary—­beche-de-mer English for woman.

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