And it was quite an hour later that Milly decided in an alarmed hurry that she and the babies must take their immediate departure. David maneuvered manfully to send them home in his car and to have Phoebe wait and let him take her home later—alone. But Phoebe insisted upon going with Milly and Billy Bob and the youngsters, and the reflection that the distance from the unfashionable quarter inhabited by the little family, back to Phoebe’s down-town apartment was very short, depressed him to the point of defiance—almost.
However, he packed them all in and then as skilfully unpacked them at the door of their little home. He carried up the twins and even remained a moment to help in their unswathing before he descended to the waiting car and Phoebe. As he gave the word and swung in beside her, David Kildare heaved a deep and rapturous sigh. It was so much to the good to have her to himself for the short whirl through the desolated winter streets. It was a situation to be made the most of for it came very seldom.
He turned to speak to her in the half light and found her curled up in the corner with her soft cheek resting against the cushions. Her attitude was one of utter weariness, but she smiled without opening her eyes as she nestled closer against the rough leather.
“Tired, peach-bud?” he asked softly. One of the gifts of the high gods to David Kildare was a voice with a timbre suitable to the utmost tenderness, when the occasion required.
“Yes,” answered Phoebe drowsily, “but so happy! It was all lovely, David.” Her pink-palmed hand lay relaxed on her knee. David lifted it cautiously in both his strong warm ones and bent over it, his heart ahammer with trepidation. For as a general thing neither the environment nor his mood had much influence in the softening way on Phoebe’s cool aloofness, but this once some sympathetic chord must have vibrated in her heart for she clasped her fingers around his and received the caress on their pink tips with opening eyes that smiled with a hint of tenderness.
“David,” she said with a low laugh, “I’m too tired to be stern with you tonight, but I’ll hold you responsible to-morrow—for everything. Here we are; do see if that red-headed devil is sitting on the door-step and tell him that there is—no—more copy—if I am a half-column short. And, David,” she drew their clasped hands nearer and laid her free one over both his as the car drew up to the curb, “you—are—a—dear! Here’s my key in my muff. To-morrow at five? I don’t know—you will have to phone me. Good night, and thank you—dear. Yes—good night again!”
THE BRIDGE OF DREAMS
“And then, Major, hell broke loose! Dave stood up and—” Tom Cantrell’s eyes snapped and he slashed with his crop at the bright andirons that held the flamed logs.