But at last she said, nestling closer,
“Tristram, won’t you listen to the story that I must tell you? I want there never to be any more mysteries between us again—”
And, to content her, he brought himself back to earth—
“Only I warn you, my darling,” he said, “all such things are side issues for me now that at last we have obtained the only thing which really matters in life—we know that we love each other, and are not going to be so foolish as to part again for a single hour—if we can help it—for the rest of time.”
And then his whole face lit up with radiant joy, and he suddenly buried it in her hair. “See,” he inurmured, “I am to be allowed to play with this exquisite net to ensnare my heart; and you are not to be allowed to spend hours in state rooms—alone! Oh! darling! How can I listen to anything but the music of your whispers, when you tell me you love me and are my very own!”
Zara did, however, finally get him to understand the whole history from beginning to end. And when he heard of her unhappy life, and her mother’s tragic story, and her sorrow and poverty, and her final reason for agreeing to the marriage, and how she thought of men, and then of him, and all her gradual awakening into this great love, there grew in him a reverent tenderness.
“Oh! my sweet—my sweet!” he said. “And I dared to be suspicious of you and doubt you, it seems incredible now!”
Then he had to tell his story—of how reasonable his suspicions looked, and, in spite of them, of his increasing love. And so an hour passed with complete clearing up of all shadows, and they could tenderly smile together over the misunderstandings which had nearly caused them to ruin both their lives.
“And to think, Tristram,” said Zara, “a little common sense would have made it all smooth!”
“No, it was not that,” he answered fondly, with a whimsical smile in his eyes, “the troubles would never have happened at all if I had only not paid the least attention to your haughty words in Paris, nor even at Dover, but had just continued making love to you; all would have been well!—However,” he added joyously, “we will forget dark things, because to-morrow I shall take you back to Wrayth, and we shall have our real honeymoon there in perfect peace.”
And, as her lips met his, Zara whispered softly once more,
"Tu sais que je t’aime!"
* * * * *
Oh! the glorious joy of that second home-coming for the bridal pair! To walk to all Tristram’s favorite haunts, to wander in the old rooms, and plan out their improvements, and in the late afternoons to sit in the firelight in his own sitting-room, and make pictures of their future joys together. Then he would tell her of his dreams, which once had seemed as if they must turn to Dead Sea fruit, but were now all bright and glowing with glad promise of fulfillment.