“Now you are beginning to know what love is,” he breathed in her ear. His eager arm stole slowly around her shoulders and, as she felt herself being drawn close to him irresistibly, a sweet wonder overwhelmed her. The awakening had come. With singing heart she lifted her hands to his cheeks, bewitched by the new spell, holding his face off from her own while she looked long and yearningly into his eyes. A soft flush crept over her brow and down her neck, her eyes wavered and melted into mirrors of love, her lips parted, but she could not speak. The clasp tightened, his face came nearer, his words sounded like music in her enchanted ears.
“Have I proved that you love me, darling?” “I never knew till now—I never knew till now,” she whispered.
Their lips met, their eyes closed, and the world was far, far away from the little stretch of sand.
WHERE THERE IS NO MINISTER
Six savages lying on the sand far above them saw the strange scene down near the splashing surf and looked blankly at each other. They had never known their Izors to act in that manner, and their benighted minds were troubled.
“Oh, Hugh, those men are looking at us,” she protested, after the first moments of joy.
“Let them look,” he cried. “You should pity them, dear, for until a few moments ago you were as much in the dark as to the meaning of love as they are now. You were a perfect heathen.”
“You are no longer the harlequin. You have become the wizard.”
“But it isn’t a pantomine,” he said.
The shadows were falling and darkness was settling about them as they passed between the giant rocks and into Velvet Valley, his arm around her waist. This new emotion deprived them of the desire to talk. There was a conscious flush in her cheeks, a queer restraint in her voice, a curious timidity in her manner when they sat before the rude table in the temple and partook of food that had never tasted so sweet before; though neither could eat of it. Something had satisfied the grosser appetite; something was tugging and choking the old into submission while the new was crowding into its realm, buoyantly, inflatingly.
They sat in front of the temple until far in the night, revelling in the beauty of the new nature. The whole world seemed different to them as they regarded it through the eyes of love; the moonlit sky was more glorious than ever before; the sombre stillness of the night was more restful; the atmosphere was sweet with the breath of passion; the sports of the savages had a fresh novelty; the torches in front of the king’s home flickered with a merrier brilliancy.
All Ridgehunt was awake and celebrating, for it was a festal night. King Pootoo had taken unto himself a new wife, adding one more to the household of his heart. There were dances and sports and all manner of festivities in honor of the event, for it was not oftener than twice a year that the king took a new wife unto his bosom. The white people never knew where the ceremony began. They only knew that on this night of all nights the father of the bride had led her to the king and had drawn with his spear a circle in the soft earth.