Thrusting his right hand into the breast-pocket of his jacket, he brought forth a little piece of wood. Removing a plug from one end, he drew out a silver arrow-pin.
“This is a proof how much I was thinking of you. You little know how eagerly I looked forward to the time when I would have the right to present it to you.”
“And did you really make this?” Jean asked, taking the arrow in her hand and examining it most carefully. “I think it is wonderful.”
“Yes, I made it myself,” Dane replied, delighted at the girl’s interest and pleasure. “I worked it out of a silver coin my mother gave me years ago, and which I valued most highly. For no one else would I have done such a thing.”
Dane’s voice was a little husky as he spoke, and this Jean noticed.
“Your mother is dead, then?” she queried. She had often longed to ask him about her, but owing to his reticence about his past life, she had not done so. She had thought it strange, nevertheless, that he had never mentioned his parents.
“My mother died five years ago,” Dane explained. “Whatever I am I owe to her. She was a noble woman.”
“Is your father dead, too? Have you no home?”
“I have had no real home since my mother died,” was the evasive reply. “My home is wherever night overtakes me. I cannot tell you any more now, so please do not ask me. I know you will trust me.”
He paused abruptly, impulsively took the arrow from the girl’s hand, and placed it in her dress at her throat. He then stepped back to view the effect.
“It becomes you well, Jean, and you must always wear it there. It is Love’s-Charm, and it may mean more to you than you now imagine.”
“I shall always wear it,” was the low response, “not only as Love’s-Charm but as a remembrance of this happy day.”
WHILE THE WATER FLOWS
The Colonel was not altogether surprised when that evening Jean told him the important news. He had not been blind and deaf to all that had been taking place around him since Dane’s arrival. He was fond of the courier, and believed him to be a noble young man, worthy of his daughter’s love. He wanted Jean to be happy, for in her happiness his own was vitally involved. Yet it was only natural that the news of the betrothal should bring a pang to his heart. Jean was his all, his comfort, his joy. But now she shared her love with another, a young man, of whose past history he knew very little, and nothing of the family from which he had sprung.