The girl rose and moved off toward the van looming ghostlike through the trees.
“Good night—Philip!” she called lightly, her voice instinct with delicate irony.
Philip stirred. His voice was very gentle.
“Thank you!” he said simply.
Diane hastily climbed the steps at the rear of the van and disappeared.
“I hate men,” thought Diane with burning cheeks as she seated herself upon the cot by the window and loosened the shining mass of her straight black hair, “who ramble flippantly through a conversation and turn suddenly serious when one least expects it.”
By the fire, burning lower as the moon climbed higher, Philip lay very quiet. Somehow the moonlit stillness of the forest had altered indefinably. Its depth and shadows jarred. Fair as it was, it had harbored things sinister and evil. And who might say—there was peace of course in the moon-silver rug of pine among the trees, in the gossamer cobweb there among the bushes jeweled lightly in dew, in the faint, sweet chirp of a drowsy bird above his head—but the moon-ray which lingered in the heart of the wild geranium would presently cascade through the trees to light the horrible thing of lead which had menaced the life of his lady.
Well, one more pipe and he would go to bed. Johnny must be tired of waiting. Philip slipped his hand into his pocket and whistled.
“So,” said he softly, “the hieroglyphic cuff is gone! It’s the first I’d missed it.”
“Like as not it dropped out of my pocket when I fell last night,” he reflected a little later. “I’d better go to bed. I’m beginning to fuss.”
A WOODLAND GUEST
There was gray beyond the flap of Philip’s tent, a velvet stillness rife with the melody of twittering birds. Already the camp fire was crackling. Philip rose and dressed.
Beyond, through the ghostly trees where the river glimmered in the gray dawn with a pearly iridescence, a girl was fishing. There were deeper shadows in the hollows but the sky behind the wooded ridge to the east was softly opaline. As the river grew pink, mists rose and curled upward and presently the glaring searchlight of the sun streamed brilliantly across the river and the forest, flinging a banner of shadow tracery over the wakening world.
The girl by the river caught a fish, deftly strung it on a willow shoot beside some others and bathed her hands in the river. Turning she smiled and waved. Philip went to meet her.
“Let me take your fish,” he offered.
“Your arm—” began Diane,
“Pshaw!” insisted Philip. “It’s ever so much better. I can even use my hand.”
To prove it, Philip presently armed himself with a fork and developed considerable helpful interest in a pan of fish. Whereupon a general atmosphere of industry settled over the camp. Rex and Nero acrobatically locked forepaws and rolled over and over in a clownish excess of congeniality. Johnny trotted busily about feeding the horses. Diane made the coffee, arousing the frank and guileless interest of Mr. Poynter.