“I don’t think I do,” she answered, and her lashes swept her cheeks as she lifted the sketch-book to her knees. “Only suppose I was to dream—some of your—other work—some day? I don’t want to build your bridges—but I might want to—write some of your poems. Hadn’t you better do something to stop me right now?” The smile had come to stay and peeped roguishly out at him from beneath her lashes.
“No,” he answered calmly, “if you want my dreams—they are yours.”
“Oh,” she said as she rose to her feet and looked down at him wistfully, “your beautiful, beautiful dreams! Ever since that afternoon I have gone over and over the lines you read me. The one about the ’brotherhood of our heart’s desires’ keeps me from being lonely. I think—I think I went to sleep saying it to myself last night and—”
It couldn’t go on any longer—as Andrew rose to his feet he gathered together any stray wreckage of wits that was within his reach and managed, by not looking directly at her, to say in a rational, elderly, friendly tone, slightly tinged with the scientific:
“My dear child, and that’s why you built my bridge for me to-day. You put yourself into mental accord with me by the use of my jingle last night and fell asleep having hypnotized yourself with it. Things wilder than fancies are facts these days, written in large volumes by extremely erudite old gentlemen and we believe them because we must. This is a simple case, with a well-known scientific name and—”
“But,” interrupted Caroline Darrah, and as she stood away from him against the dim hills, her slender figure seemed poised as if for flight, and a hurt young seriousness was in her lifted purple eyes: “I don’t want it to be a ‘simple case’ with any scientific—” and just here a merry call interrupted her from up-stream.
Phoebe and Polly had come to summon her back to the club; tea was on the brew. With the intensest hospitality they invited Andrew to come, too. But he declined with what grace he could and made his way through the tangle down-stream as they walked back under the beeches.
Thus a very bitter thing had come to Andrew Sevier—and sweet as the pulse of heaven. In his hand he had seen a sensitive flower unfold to its very heart of flame.
“Never let her know,” he prayed, “never let her know.”
STRANGE WILD THINGS
“Phoebe,” said David Kildare as he seated himself on the corner of the table just across from where Phoebe sat in Major Buchanan’s chair writing up her one o’clock notes, “what is there about me that makes people think they must make me judge of the criminal court of this county? Do I look job-hungry so as to notice it?”
“No,” answered Phoebe as she folded her last sheet and laid down her pencil, “that is one thing no one can accuse you of, David. But your work down there has brought its results. They need you and are calling to you rather decisively I think. Any more delegations to-day?”