On a wonderful afternoon, more than two years later, Lucia sat in the little Spanish courtyard that Gilbert had had built a few months after their marriage. The air was like golden wine, and she drank it in, bathed her soul in it, as though she could never find enough joy through these slow hours. How marvelous life had been to her in the last radiant months! She had realized the fulfillment of her most cherished dream, and looked down now at a tiny pink face that smiled at her.
“Oh, how sweet you are, Pancho!” she was saying. “I don’t know what I ever did without you!” And she kissed the baby’s cheek, which instantly took on a rosy hue.
There is an ecstasy that is close to tears; and in the happiness that Lucia had now found she was experiencing that high state of spiritual exaltation which made life almost unbearably beautiful. The autumn day itself, warm and glowing, was like a low fire on the hearth, toward which she stretched her hands. But there was a spiritual fire within her which needed no outward symbol; a flame that leaped and burned steadily.
Far off she heard the chug of a motor—not the Ford now, but a big touring-car that glistened in the sun. She knew that Gilbert would be returning from Bisbee at just about this hour, and she could hardly wait to see him turn in.
“Here’s your daddy, Pancho!” she cried, when the car swung from the road, and Gilbert, hatless and sun-burned, leaped from the machine with all the eagerness of a great healthy boy.
He ran to his little family and kissed them both. “Gosh! but you look lovely, Lucia, my dear!” he exclaimed, standing back a bit so that he could have even a better view of her rosy cheeks, flashing eyes, and blowing hair. “This autumn weather agrees with you, doesn’t it? And Pancho—he looks better than any baby around here—even Angela’s.”
He dropped down on the seat beside her, and looked with rapture at the child in her arms.
“Sold ten head of cattle this morning, and Montrose says he’ll take as many more when I’m ready for him. Great, isn’t it? ‘Red’ been over to-day?”
“Yes,” answered Lucia; “and he said he was going to bring Angela and Panchita for an early supper. Says it’s awful the way they’ve neglected us. We haven’t seen them for two whole days, you know!”
They both laughed.
“Well, of course old ‘Red’ has more to do now that Jasper Hardy’s dead; but after all, he can hire all the men he needs. Guess it’s more a question of his wanting to stay around Angy and the kid, don’t you think so?”
“He tries so hard to imitate you in everything. It makes me ache to see how happy he is, Gil. Aren’t they the cutest couple you ever saw? And won’t it be nice when Pancho and Panchita are old enough to play together?”