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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 364 pages of information about The Vehement Flame.

“It just came over me!  Oh, Eleanor, suppose I hadn’t got you?  You said ‘No’ six times.  You certainly did behave very badly,” he said, showing his white teeth in a broad grin.

“Some people win say I behaved very badly when I said ‘Yes.’”

“Tell ’em to go to thunder!  What does Mrs. Maurice Curtis (doesn’t that sound pretty fine?) care for a lot of old cats?  Don’t we know that we are in heaven?” He caught her hand and crushed it against his mouth.  “I wish,” he said, very low, “I almost wish I could die, now, here!  At your feet.  It seems as if I couldn’t live, I am so—­” He stopped.  So—­what?  Words are ridiculously inadequate things!...  “Happiness” wasn’t the name of that fire in his breast, Happiness?  “Why, it’s God,” he said to himself; “God.” Aloud, he said, again, “We are married!”

She did not speak—­she was a creature of alluring silences—­she just put her hand in his.  Suddenly she began to sing; there was a very noble quality in the serene sweetness of her voice: 

“O thou with dewy locks, who lookest down
 Through the clear windows of the morning, ten
 Thine angel eyes upon our western isle,
 Which in full choir hails thy approach, O Spring!”

That last word rose like a flight of wings into the blue air.  Her husband looked at her; for a compelling instant his eyes dredged the depths of hers, so that all the joyous, frightened woman in her retreated behind a flutter of laughter.

“‘O Spring!’” he repeated; “we are Spring, Nelly—­you and I....  I’ll never forget the first time I heard you sing that; snowing like blazes it was,—­do you remember?  But I swear I felt this hot grass then in Mrs. Newbolt’s parlor, with all those awful bric-a-brac things around!  Yes,” he said, putting his hand on a little sun-drenched bowlder jutting from the earth beside him; “I felt this sun on my hand!  And when you came to ‘O Spring!’ I saw this sky—­” He stopped, pulled three blades of grass and began to braid them into a ring.  “Lord!” he said, and his voice was suddenly startled; “what a darned little thing can throw the switches for a man!  Because I didn’t get by in Math.  D and Ec 2, and had to crawl out to Mercer to cram with old Bradley—­I met you!  Eleanor!  Isn’t it wonderful?  A little thing like that—­just falling down in mathematics—­changed my whole life?” The wild gayety in his eyes sobered.  “I happened to come to Mercer—­and, you are my wife.”  His fingers, holding the little grassy ring, trembled; but the next instant he threw himself back on the grass, and kicked up his heels in a preposterous gesture of ecstasy.  Then caught her hand, slipped the braided ring over that plain circle of gold which had been on her finger for fifty-four minutes, kissed it—­and the palm of her hand—­and said, “You never can escape me!  Eleanor, your voice played the deuce with me.  I rushed home and read every poem in my volume of Blake.  Go on; give us the rest.”

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