He stopped her sharply. “Puck! Puck!”
Their lips met. Puck was sobbing a little and smiling at the same time.
“Your love is the safety-curtain, Billikins darling,” she whispered, softly. “And I’m going to thank God for it—every day of my life.”
“My darling!” he said. “My wife!”
Her eyes shone up to his through tears. “Oh, do you realize,” she said,” that we have risen from the dead?”
“I really don’t know why I accepted him. But somehow it was done before I knew. He waltzes so divinely that it intoxicates me, and then I naturally cease to be responsible for my actions.”
Doris Fielding leant back luxuriously, her hands clasped behind her head.
“I can’t think what he wants to marry me for,” she said reflectively. “I am quite sure I don’t want to marry him.”
“Then, my dear child, what possessed you to accept him?” remonstrated her friend, Vera Abingdon, from behind the tea-table.
“That’s just what I don’t know,” said Doris, a little smile twitching the corner of her mouth. “However, it doesn’t signify greatly. I don’t mind being engaged for a little while if he is good, but I certainly shan’t go on if I don’t like it. It’s in the nature of an experiment, you see; and it really is necessary, for there is absolutely no other way of testing the situation.”
She glanced at her friend and burst into a gay peal of laughter. No one knew how utterly charming this girl could be till she laughed.
“Oh, don’t look so shocked, please!” she begged. “I know I’m flippant, flighty, and foolish, but really I’m not a bit wicked. Ask Phil if I am. He has known me all my life.”
“I do not need to ask him, Dot.” Vera spoke with some gravity notwithstanding. “I have never for a moment thought you wicked. But I do sometimes think you are rather heartless.”
Doris opened her blue eyes wide.
“Oh, why? I am sure I am not. It really isn’t my fault that I have been engaged two or three times before. Directly I begin to get pleasantly intimate with any one he proposes, and how can I possibly know, unless I am on terms of intimacy, whether I should like to marry him or not? I am sure I don’t want to be engaged to any one for any length of time. It’s as bad as being cast up on a desert island with only one wretched man to speak to. As a matter of fact, what you call heartlessness is sheer broad-mindedness on my part. I admit that I do occasionally sail near the wind. It’s fun, and I like it. But I never do any harm—any real harm I mean. I always put my helm over in time. And I must protect myself somehow against fortune-hunters.”
Vera was silent. This high-spirited young cousin of her husband’s was often a sore anxiety to her. She had had sole charge of the girl for the past three years and had found it no light responsibility.