What I might have indiscreetly said in the great emotions of those first moments, I know not, but before I could give utterance to further words, Almos’ calm demeanor had asserted itself, and in a voice that gave no evidence of how I was torn within, I said:
“How is it, Zarlah, that you find time from your studies to linger here?”
“My studies have brought me here,” she answered, gently withdrawing her hand and rising as if to go. Then quickly lifting her shining eyes to mine, in a playfully reproachful tone, she said, “And have you no experiments at the observatory that demand your attention that you can afford to linger here, Almos?”
How beautiful she looked as she stood before me thus! Surely I could not hope for a better time than now to tell her all that was in my heart. There was uncertainty in the future—perhaps I would never again be given the opportunity to speak that with which my soul burned.
Placing a hand lightly on her shoulder and looking down into her wonderful eyes, I said tenderly, “The reason I have lingered here, Zarlah, was to think of you.”
A tremor of her slight form was the only response I received for some seconds that seemed hours to me, then, with her eyes turned away so I could not read in them my fate, she murmured, “Did you not come to hear the wonderful instrument by which Sarraccus gives the flowers a voice?”
“I did,” I answered passionately, “and its sweet melody whispered only of you—the radiant rose of the spheres. It told me of the yearning in my heart—it sang of your great beauty, and of my unspeakable love for you, and sobbed at the time I have wasted, a fortune of golden moments; then, as it died away, it led me to you. Is not this melody of flowers direct from God’s own hand, Zarlah? It must then be decreed by Him that I should love you, for being truth itself, it can appeal only to the truth that is within the soul.”
I drew her unresisting form toward me, and, gently pushing back the waves of soft brown hair, I tenderly kissed the beautiful face, radiant with the light of love. A thought of fabled beauties of Earth passed before me. Could any of them compare with my Martian love? Would not the face of Helen—that which “launched a thousand ships” at Troy—have paled into insignificance beside it?
For some moments we remained thus, neither of us caring to break that sacred silence which to lovers means infinitely more than words. The joy of feeling that my love was returned, and that she whom I held in my arms was mine, made me forget all else, until, with a little sob, Zarlah whispered:
“Dearest, in our great happiness, we must not forget the duties that have been confided to us. You must return to the observatory at once. Come, and I will accompany you to where Reon waits.”