And as he waited a wondrous thing and piercing sweet unfolded itself under his keen old eyes and sank like a balm into his wise old heart. From the two deep purple pools of womanhood that were raised to his, shy with homage of him and unconscious of their own tender reverencing, Andrew Sevier drew a deep draught into his very soul. Slowly the color mounted into his face, his eyes opened themselves and a wonderful smile curled his lips. He held out his hand and took her slender fingers into a strong clasp and held them for a long moment. Then with a smile at the major, which was a mixture of dignity tinged with an infinite sadness, he bent over and gently kissed the white hand as he let it go. The little ceremony had more chivalry than she understood.
“Its part of our ritual of welcome I’m claiming,” he said lightly as she blushed rose pink and the divine shyness deepened in her eyes. She again buried her face in the berries.
Then with a proud look into Andrew’s face the major laid his hand on the young man’s bandaged arm and bent and raised Caroline’s hand to his lips.
“It’s a ritual, my dear,” he said, “that I’m honored in observing with him. Friendship these days has need of rituals of ratification and the pomp of ceremonials to give it color. There’s danger of its becoming prosaic. Jefferson, turn on the lights.”
TWO LITTLE CRIMES
And then in a few weeks winter had come down from over the hills across the fields and captured the city streets with a blare of northern winds, which had been met and tempered by the mellow autumn breezes that had been slow to retreat and abandon the gold and crimson banners still fluttering on the trees. The snap and crackle of the Thanksgiving frost had melted into a long lazy silence of a few more Indian summer days so that, with lungs filled with the intoxicating draught of this late wine of October, everybody had ridden, driven, hunted, golfed and lived afield.
Then had come a second sweep of the northern winds and the city had wakened out of its haze of desertion, turned up its lights, built up its fires and put on the trappings of revelry and toil.
The major’s logs were piled the higher and crackled the louder, and his welcome was even more genial to the chosen spirits which gathered around his library table. He and Mrs. Buchanan had succeeded in prolonging the visit of Caroline Darrah Brown into weeks and were now holding her into the winter months with loving insistence.