“No! No!” she said. “It must be as I said.”
And presently, with faith in his poisoned arrows Ronador went, pledged to await her summons.
Diane sat very still beneath the cedars, with the noise of the music-machine wild torture to her ears.
THE MOON ABOVE THE MARSH
The moon silvered the marsh and the creek. Off to the east rippled a silent, moon-white stretch of sea, infinitely lonely, murmuring in the star-cool night.
Restless and wakeful Diane watched the stream glide endlessly on, each reed and pebble silvered. Rex lay on the bank beside her, whither he had followed faithfully a very long while ago, snapping at the insects which rose from the grass. So colorless and fixed was the face of his mistress that it seemed a beautiful graven thing devoid of life.
Now presently as Diane stared at the moon-lit pebbles glinting at her feet, a shadow among the cedars, having advanced and retreated uncertainly a score of times before, suddenly detached itself from the wavering stencil of tree and bush upon the moonlit ground and resolved itself into the figure of a tall, determined sentinel who approached and seated himself beside her.
“What’s wrong?” begged Philip gently. “I’ve been watching you for hours, Diane, and you’ve scarcely moved an inch.”
“Nothing,” said Diane. But her voice was so lifeless, her lack of interest in Philip’s sudden appearance so pointed, that he glanced keenly at her colorless face and frowned.
“There is something, I’m sure,” he insisted kindly. “You look it.” Finding that she did not trouble to reply, he produced his wildwood pipe and fell to smoking.
“Likely I’ll stay here,” said Philip quietly, “until you tell me. Surely you know, Diane, that in anything in God’s world that concerns you, I stand ready to help you if you need me.”
It was manfully spoken but Diane’s lips faintly curled. Philip’s fine frank face colored hotly and he looked away.
In silence they sat there, Philip smoking restlessly and wondering, Diane staring at the creek, with Ronador’s impassioned voice ringing wildly in her ears.
In the east the sky turned faintly primrose, the creek glowed faintly pink. The great moon glided lower by the marsh with the branch of a dead tree black against its brilliant shield. Marsh and oak were faintly gray. The metallic ocean had already caught the deepening glow of life. Where the stream stole swampwards, a mist curled slowly up from the water like beckoning ghosts draped in nebulous rags.
Suddenly in the silence Diane fell to trembling.
“Philip!” she cried desperately.
“Yes?” said Philip gently.
“Why are you following me with the music-machine?”
“I could tell you,” said Philip honestly, “and I’d like to, but you’d tell me again that the moon is on my head.”