“It would be Heaven for me. Do you mean it, Becky?”
She did mean it, and she told him so.
“I shall paint you,” he planned, “as a little white slip of a girl, with pearls about your neck, and dreams in your eyes, and back of you a flight of shadowy swans——”
They rose and walked on. “I thought you were to be with the Admiral in Boston this winter.”
“I stay until Thanksgiving. I always go back to Huntersfield for Christmas.”
After that it was decided that she should sit for him each morning. They did not speak again of Randy. There had been something in Becky’s manner which kept Archibald from saying more.
When they reached the lighthouse, the wind was blowing strongly. Before them was the sweep of the Nantucket Shoals—not a ship in sight, not a line of smoke, the vast emptiness of heaving waters.
Becky stood at the edge of the bluff, her red cape billowing out into a scarlet banner, her hair streaming back from her face, the velvet tam flattened by the force of the wind.
Archibald glanced at her. “Are you cold?”
“No, I love it.”
He was chilled to the bone, yet there she stood, warm with life, bright with beating blood——
“What a beastly lot of tumbling water,” he said with sudden overmastering irritation. “Let’s get away from it, Becky. Let’s get away.”
Going back they took the road which led across the moor. The clear day gave to the low hills the Persian carpet coloring which Cope had despaired of painting. Becky, in her red cape, was almost lost against the brilliant background.
But she was not the only one who challenged nature. For as she and Archibald approached the outskirts of the town, they discerned, at some distance, at the top of a slight eminence, two figures—a man and a woman. The woman was dancing, with waving arms and flying feet.
“She calls that dance ‘Morning on the Moor,’” Cope told Becky; “she has a lot of them—’The Spirit of the Storm, ‘The Wraith of the Fog.’”
“Do you know her?”
“No. But Tristram says she dances every morning. She is getting ready for an act in one of the big musical shows.”
The man sat on the ground and watched the woman dance. Her primrose cape was across his knee. He was a big man and wore a cap. Becky, surveying him from afar, saw nothing to command closer scrutiny. Yet had she known, she might have found him worthy of another look. For the man with the primrose cape was Dalton!
George Dalton, entering the little sitting-room of “The Whistling Sally,” had to bend his head. He was so shining and splendid that he seemed to fill the empty spaces. It seemed, indeed, to Becky, as if he were too shining and splendid, as if he bulked too big, like a giant, top-heavy.
But she was not unmoved. He had been the radiant knight of her girlish dreams—some of the glamour still remained. Her cheeks were touched with pink as she greeted him.