“Nothing I’d like better,” answered Jack promptly.
“We’ll arrange a date later. Just now I’ve got to beat it. Goin’ drivin’ with a lady.”
Jack scored for once. “She’s a good scout, too.”
“If she isn’t, I’ll say there never was one,” his cousin assented.
THE NEW WORLD
Kirby took his lady love driving in a rented flivver. It was a Colorado night, with a young moon looking down through the cool, rare atmosphere found only in the Rockies. He drove her through the city to Berkeley and up the hill to Inspiration Point.
They talked only in intermittent snatches. Rose had the gift of comradeship. Her tongue never rattled. With Kirby she did not need to make talk. They had always understood each other without words.
But to-night their silences were filled with new and awkward significances. She guessed that an emotional crisis was at hand. With all her heart she welcomed and shrank from it. For she knew that after to-night life could never be the same to her. It might be fuller, deeper, happier, but it could not hold for her the freedom she had guarded and cherished.
At the summit he killed the engine. They looked across the valley to the hills dimmed by night’s velvet dusk.
“We’re through with all that back there,” he said, and she knew he meant the tangled trails of the past weeks into which their fate had led them. “We don’t have to keep our minds full of suspicions an’ try to find out things in mean, secret ways. There, in front of us, is God’s world, waitin’ for you an’ me, Rose.”
Though she had expected it, she could not escape a sense of suddenly stilled pulses followed by a clamor of beating blood. She quivered, vibrating, trembling. She was listening to the call of mate to mate sounding clear above all the voices of the world.
A flash of soft eyes darted at him. He was to be her man, and the maiden heart thrilled at the thought. She loved all of him she knew—his fine, clean thoughts, his brave and virile life, the splendid body that was the expression of his personality. There was a line of golden down on his cheek just above where he had shaved. Her warm eyes dared to linger fondly there, for he was still gazing at the mountains.
His eyes came home to her, and as he looked he knew he longed for her in every fiber of his being.
He asked no formal question. She answered none. Under the steady regard of his eyes she made a small, rustling movement toward him. Her young and lissom body was in his arms, a warm and palpitating thing of life and joy. He held her close. Her eyelashes swept his cheek and sent a strange, delightful tingle through his blood.
Kirby held her head back and looked into her eyes again. Under the starlight their lips slowly met.