A small disagreeable voice, hermetically sealed in one of the remoter caverns of him, remarked at this point that he was a liar. A motor-car, it pointed out, was one of the things he had always denounced as a part of the useless clutter of existence that he refused to be embarrassed with. But it didn’t speak with much conviction.
She picked up his hand and brushed her lips softly against the palm of it. “You’re so wonderful to me,” she said. “You give me so much. And I—I have so little to give back. And I want to—I want to give you all the world.” And then, suddenly, she put her bare arm around his neck, drew his face to hers and kissed him.
It was the first time she had ever begun a caress like that.
For their honeymoon, Martin had loaned them his camp up in northern Wisconsin—uncut forest mostly, with a river and a lot of little lakes in it. There were still deer and bear to be shot there, there was wonderful fishing, and, more to the point in the present instance, as fine a brand of solitude as civilization can ask to lay its hands on. It was modified, and mitigated too, by a backwoods family—a man and his wife, a daughter or two, and half a dozen sons, who lived there the year round, of course; so that by telegraphing two or three days in advance, you could be met by a buckboard at the nearest railroad station for the twenty-five-mile drive over to the camp. You could find the house itself (a huge affair, decorously built of logs, as far as its exterior manifestations went, but amply supplied on the interior with bathrooms, real beds and so forth) opened and warmed and flavored with the odor of fried venison steak. Also, there was always a boy to paddle a canoe for you, or saddle a horse, if you didn’t feel like doing it for yourself.
Rodney and Rose spent a night in this establishment, then rigged up an outfit for camping of a less symbolistic sort, and repaired to an island out in the lake, where for two weeks they lived gorgeously, like the savages they both, to a very considerable extent, really were.
But, at the end of this fortnight, a whipping north wind, with a fine penetrating rain in its teeth, settled down for a three-days’ visit, and drove them back to adequate shelter. One rainy day in an outdoor camp is a good thing; a second requires fortitude; a third carries the conviction that it has been raining from the first day of Creation and will keep on till the Last Judgment, and if you have anywhere to go to get dry, you do.
Of course the storm blew itself away when it had accomplished its purpose of driving them from their island paradise, but they didn’t go back to it. Two weeks of camp-fires, hemlock boughs and blankets, had given them an appreciation for sleeping between smooth sheets, and coming down to a breakfast that was prepared for them. And one morning Rose came into the big living-room to find Rodney lounging there, in front of the fire, with a book.