She did not move forward to meet him but stood delighting in the sense of his ever-growing nearness. When at length he stood close before her, she drew a long, pleasant breath and said,—
“A beautiful morning!”
This was no commonplace greeting, for it was not made in a commonplace manner. It said that his coming had consummated the else imperfect beauty of nature, and won its expression from Gnulemah’s lips. The commonplace wondered to find itself transmuted into a compliment of fine gold!
Gnulemah’s attire to-day was more Diana-like than yesterday’s, and looked as appropriate to her as leaves to trees or clouds to the sky. Her dress, indeed, was not so much a conventional appendage as a living, sensitive part of her, which might be supposed to change its color and style in sympathy with her shifting moods and surroundings, yet never losing certain distinctive traits which had their foundation in her individual nature.
“A beautiful morning!” returned Balder, taking her hand. “Were you expecting me?”
“I feared you might not show yourself to me again,” she answered, with sudden tears twinkling on her eyelashes. She seemed more tenderly human and approachable to-day than heretofore. Had she found her mountain-height of unmated solitude untenable?—found in herself a yielding woman, and in Balder the strength that is a man? This descent, which was a sweet ascent, made her endlessly more lovable.
“I come here always when I feel lonely,” continued she. “If it had not been for this place, with its great outlook, I should often have been too lonely to stay in the world.”
“We all need an outlook to a larger, world, Gnulemah.”
“Besides, you came to me from the other side!” said she glancing in his face.
“Did you see me there?” Balder was on the point of asking; but he was wise enough to refrain. If he could believe it true, let him not tempt his happiness; if faith were weak, why build a barrier against it? So he kept silence.
“You found my violets!” whispered Gnulemah, with a shy smile. “You understand all I do and am; it is happiness to be with you.”
They sat down by mutual consent beneath a crooked old apple-tree, which yet blossomed as pure and fresh as did the youngest in the orchard. From beneath this white and perfumed tent was a view of the distant city.
Gnulemah could not be called talkative, yet in giving her thoughts expression she outdid vocabularies. Many fine muscles there were around her eyes, at the corners of her mouth, and especially in the upper lip,—whose subtile curvings and contractions spoke volumes of question, appeal, observation. Her form by its endless shiftings uttered delicate phrases of pleasure, surprise, or love; her hands and fingers were orators, and eloquent were the curlings and tappings of her Arab feet.