He opened his eyes, protestingly, and beheld the realization of his dream. He had been dreaming of Ruth—an old recurrency of that dream he had had in Canton, of Ruth leading him to the top of the mountain. For a moment he believed this merely a new phase of the dream. He smiled.
“The Dawn Pearl!” he said, making to recline again.
But she was relentless. “Hoddy, wake up!” She jerked his head to and fro until the hair stung.
“What?... Oh!... Well, good Lord!” He wrenched loose his head and stood up, sending the chair clattering to the floor. Rollo barked.
“Go and take your plunge while I attend to breakfast.”
He started to pick up a sheet of manuscript, but she pushed him from the table toward the doorway; and he staggered out of the bungalow, suddenly stretched his arms, and broke into a trot.
Ruth returned to the table. The tropical dawn is swift. She could now see to read; so she stirred the manuscript about until she came upon the first page. “The Beachcombers.”
Romance! The Seven Seas are hers. She roves the blue fields of the North, with the clean North Wind on her lips and her blonde head jewelled with frost—mocking valour and hardihood! Out of the West she comes, riding the great ships and the endless steel ways that encompass the earth, and smoke comes with her and the glare of furnace fires—commerce! From the East she brings strange words upon her tongue and strange raiment upon her shoulders and the perfume of myrrh—antiquity! But oh! when she springs from the South, her rosy feet trailing the lotus, ripe lequats wreathing her head, in one hand the bright torch of danger and in the other the golden apples of love, with her eyes full of sapphires and her mouth full of pearls!
“With her eyes full of sapphires and her mouth full of pearls.” All day long the phrase interpolated her thoughts.
A week later the manuscript was polished and typewritten, ready for the test. Spurlock felt very well pleased with himself. To have written a short story in a week was rather a remarkable feat.
It was at breakfast on this day that he told Ruth he had sent to Batavia for some dresses. They would arrive sometime in June.
“That gown is getting shabby.”
Ruth spread out the ruffled skirt, sundrily torn and soiled. “I haven’t worn anything else in weeks. I haven’t touched the other.”
“Anything like that?”
“Yes; but the colour is lavender.”
“Wear that to-night, then. It fits your style. You are very lovely, Ruth.”
She wanted to dance. The joy that filled her veins with throbbing fire urged her to rise and go swinging and whirling and dipping. She sat perfectly still, however.
“I am glad you think that,” she replied. “Please tell me whenever I am at fault.”
“I wish you did have some faults, Ruth. You’re an angel of goodness.”