“Just the one woman I want to be my own for ever and always, more—far more than I have ever wanted anything in my life.”
“But,” she whispered, “I am only—”
“The best, the noblest I have ever known.”
“With dimples in her elbows, Hermione!” In one stride he was beside her, and she, because of his light tone, must turn at last to glance up at him half-fearfully; but those grey eyes were grave and reverent, the hands stretched out to her were strangely unsteady, and when he spoke again, his voice was placid no longer.
“Dear,” he said, leaning toward her, “from the very first I’ve been dying to have you in my arms, but now I—I dare not touch you unless you—will it so. Ah, don’t—don’t turn from me; let me have my answer—look up, Hermione!”
Slowly she obeyed, and beholding the shy languor of her eyes, the sweet hurry of her breathing, and all the sighing, trembling loveliness of her, he set his arms about her, drawing her close; and she, yielding to those compelling arms, gave herself to the passion of his embrace. And so he kissed her, her warm, soft-quivering mouth, her eyes, her silken hair, until she sighed and struggled in his clasp.
“My hair,” she whispered, “see—it’s all coming down!”
“Well, let it—I’d love to see it so, Hermione.”
“Should you? Why then—let me go,” she pleaded.
Reluctantly he loosed her, and standing well beyond his reach, she shook her shapely head, and down, down fell the heavy coils, past shoulder and waist and hip, rippling in shining splendour to her knees. Then, while he gazed spellbound by her loveliness she laughed a little unsteadily, and flushing beneath his look, turned and fled from him to the door; when he would have followed she stayed him.
“Please,” she said, tender-voiced, “I want to be alone—it is all so wonderful, I want to be alone and—think.”
“I may see you again to-night, Hermione? Dear—I must.”
“Why, if you must,” she said, “how can I—prevent you?”
Then, all at once, her cool, soft arms were about his neck, had drawn him down to meet her kiss, and—he was alone with the pastry board, the rolling-pin and the flour-dredger—but he saw them all through a golden glory, and when he somehow found himself out upon the dingy landing, the glory was all about him still.
HOW GEOFFREY RAVENSLEE MADE A DEAL IN REAL ESTATE
The morning sun blazed down, and Tenth Avenue was full of noise and dust and heat; children screamed and played and fought together, carts rumbled past, distant street cars clanged their bells, the sidewalks were full of the stir and bustle of Saturday; but Ravenslee went his way heedless of all this, even of the heat, for before his eyes was the vision of a maid’s shy loveliness, and he thrilled anew at the memory