And with the words he turned with an air of finality and went away.
A DAY IN PARADISE
It was a day in the very heart of the summer, a day of cloudless skies and wonderful, magic breezes, a day for the dreaming—and perchance for the fulfilment—of dreams. Swift and noiseless as the swoop of a monster bird the motor glided on its way; now rushing, now slackening, but never halting. Sometimes it seemed to Anne that she sat motionless while the world raced by her. She had often seen herself thus. And then with a thrill of the pulses came the exultation of rapid movement, banishing the illusion, while the very heart of her rejoiced in the knowledge thereof. For this one day—for this one day—she had left the desert behind her. She had yielded half against her judgment, but she knew no regret. On the morrow she would be back in the waste places where, during all her womanhood, she had wandered. But for this one day the roses bloomed for her and she drank deep of their fragrance. It had come to her so unexpectedly, so dazzlingly, this brief and splendid hour. She marvelled at herself that she had hesitated even for a moment to accept it.
Perhaps memories of another day came now and again to her as she leaned back on the cushions and opened her soul to the sunshine, memories of a day of sparkling winter which had begun in much the same genial atmosphere and had ended in most hideous disaster. But if they came she put them resolutely from her. There was no time to waste upon past or future. For this one day she would drink the wine of the gods; she would live.
Nap drove in almost unbroken silence. He was wearing a mask, and she had no clue to his thoughts; but she scarcely speculated about him. She did not want to talk. She only desired to give herself up to the pure pleasure of rapid movement. She had complete faith in his driving. If daring, he was never reckless, with her beside him.
The meadows were full of hay, and the scent of it lay like a spell upon the senses. The whirr of the mowing machine filled the air with a lazy droning. It was like a lullaby. And ever they sped on, through towns and villages and hamlets, through woods and lanes and open country, sure and swift and noiseless save for the cheery humming of the motor, which sang softly to itself like a spinning top.
They went through country of which Anne had no knowledge, but Nap seemed fully acquainted with it; for he never paused to ask the way, never raised his eyes to the finger-posts that marked the cross-roads. She marvelled at his confidence, but asked no questions. It was not a day for questions.
Only when they emerged at last upon a wide moor, where the early heather grew in tufts of deepest rose, she cried to him suddenly to stop.
“I must get some of it. It is the first I have seen. Look! How exquisite!”