All the forenoon she lay in his arms, crying out with little inarticulate gurgles of joy under his caresses, lavishing a whole lifetime’s concentrated emotion upon him in a ferocity of passion that seemed quenchless.
And Paul was in the seventh heaven—mad with love! He was learning that there were tones in that glorious voice that he had never heard before, depths in those eyes that he had never fathomed—and those tones, those depths, were all for him, for him alone—aye, had been waiting there through all eternity for his awakening touch.
“Opal,” he said, earnestly, “perhaps it was here—on this very spot, it may be, who knows—that my mother gave herself to my father!
But she could only smile at him through fast-gathering tears—strange tears of mingled joy and wonder and pain.
And he covered her face, her neck, her shoulders with burning kisses, and cried out in an ecstasy of bliss, “Oh, my love! My life!”
And thus the morning hours died away.
And behold, it was noon!
The day and their love stood still together. The glamour of the day, the resistless force of their masterful love that seemed to them so unlike all other loves of which they had ever heard or dreamed, held them in a transport of delight that could only manifest itself in strange, bitter-sweet caresses, in incoherent murmurings.
This, then, was love! Aye, this was Love!
The thoughts of the two returned with a tender, persistent recollection to the love-tale of the past—the delicious idyl of love that had given birth to this boy. Here, even here, had been spent those three maddest and gladdest of weeks—that dream of an ideal love realized in its fullness, as it is given to few to realize.
Yes, that was Love!
It was youth eternal—youth and fire, power and passion.
It was May! May!
* * * * *
It was mid-afternoon before they awakened, to look into each other’s eyes with a new understanding. Surely never since the world began had two souls loved each other as did these!
And what should they do with the afternoon? Such a little while remained for them—such a little while!
Paul drew out his mother’s letter, and together they read it, understanding now, as they had not been able to understand before, its whole wonderful significance.
When they read of the first dawn of the hope of parentage in the hearts of these long-ago lovers, their eyes met, heavy with the wistfulness of renunciation. That consolation, alas! was not for them. Only the joy of loving could ever be theirs.
And then, drawing out the other letters that had accompanied his mother’s, Paul revealed to his darling the whole mystery of his identity.
At first she was startled—almost appalled—at the thought that she had given herself to a Prince of the Purple—a real king of a real kingdom—and for a moment felt a strange awe of him.