Vina shook her head.
“Come back to New York with me to-day!” he said suddenly. “Our friends are there. You wouldn’t trust anyone to pack the panels you’ll need for work here.... Then we’ll come back together for the long summer’s work—will you?”
There was a quick step below—not the step of the man of flowers. Vina glanced at Cairns, who was smiling.
“I’ve arranged for servants, of course,” he said. “I think dinner is nearly ready.... The table wasn’t set for maiden-aunts——”
“The long summer’s work together——” she said, in an awed voice.
“But first, our dinner together—you and I—here—oh, Vina!”
“... But, David,... you said—dinner first!”
BETH AND ADITH MALLORY
Beth Truba dreamed:
She had been traveling for days and years, over plains, through the rifts of high mountains, across rivers and through great lonely silences, with just a dog for a companion. A white dog with small black spots, very playful and enduring, and though not large, he was very brave to contend with all that was fearful. At night he curled up close to her and licked her hand, and in the morning before the weary hours, he played about and made her laugh.
They came at last to a great desert. There was no other way, but to cross, if she hoped ever to reach her journey’s end.... On and on, through the burning brightness they went, forgetting their hunger in the greater thirst. The nights were dreadful with a drying, dust-laden wind, and the days with destroying brilliance. At length one mid-day, the dog could go no further.
He sat down upon his haunches and looked at her, his tail brushing the sand—eyes melting with love for her. She put her hand upon his head, and the dry tongue touched her fingers.... She must leave him. He seemed to understand that she must go on; his eyes told her his sufferings—in that he could not be with her. And so she went on alone.
When she turned he was watching, but he had sunk down upon the sand. Only his head was raised a little. Still she saw the softness of the eyes; and his ears, that had been so sharp in the happy days, had dropped close about his head.
On she went, looking back, until the spot on the sand where he lay was gone from her eyes. And she knew what it meant to be alone. The days were blazing, and the nights filled with anguish to die. At last her hour came.... So glad she was to sink down a last time and let the night cover her.... But the sound of running water—water splashing musically upon the stones, and the breath of flowers—awoke her after many hours. A cooling dawn was abroad, and in the lovely light she saw low trees ahead—green palms around a fountain—fruits and shade and flowers.... She arose, and from her limbs all weariness was gone. There was a quick bark, and her dog came bounding up—and Beth awoke, thinking it was her soul that had returned to her, restored.