Suddenly he started up and flung down his book upon the settle, and put on his fur cap and was out of the house. “The first turn of her heart was towards me, and I was the first man she coupled with love in her thoughts, and nothing can undo it,” he said, aloud, fiercely to himself as he went up the lonely snowy road; and he believed it then. Those soft blue glances of Dorothy’s came back to him so vividly that he seemed to see them anew whenever his eyes fell upon the way-side bushes, or the cloud-shadowed slopes of white fields, or the dark gaps of solitude between the forest pines.
For the first time a fierce insistence of his rights of love was upon him. Straight to the village he went, and to Parson Fair’s house. But he did not enter; his madness was not great enough for that. He did not enter, but he went past with a bold, searching look at all the windows and no pretence of indifference, and up the road a little way. Then he returned and passed the house again, and looked again; and this time Dorothy’s face showed between the dimity sweeps of her chamber curtains. He half stopped, and then came another glance of blue eyes which verified those that had gone before, straight into his, which replied with a dark flash of ardor, and then Dorothy’s face went red all of a sudden, and there was a vanishing curve of blushing cheek and a flirt aside of fair curls, and the space between the dimity curtains was clear.
Eugene stood still beneath the window for a few minutes. There were watchful eyes in the neighboring windows. In the tavern-yard, farther down the street, Dexter Beers and old Luke Basset stood, also fixedly staring at Parson Fair’s house.
“Wonder if he thinks there’s any trouble—fire or anything,” said Dexter Beers.
“Don’t see no smoke,” said old Luke.
Eugene Hautville, rapt in that abstraction of love which is the completest in the world, and makes indeed a world of its own across eternal spaces, knew nothing and thought nothing of outside observers. He was half minded for a minute to enter Parson Fair’s house. Had Dorothy appeared outside, the impulse to seize her and bear her away with him and fight for her possession against all odds, like any male of his old savage tribe when love stirred his veins, would have been strong within him. But she did not come, nor appear again in the window. She stood well around the curtain and peeped; but he did not know that, and presently he went away.
When he passed the tavern Dexter Beers hailed him. “Say, anythin’ wrong to the parson’s?”
“No,” returned Eugene, sharply, and strode on.
“Didn’t know but you see smoke, you were lookin’ up at the house so stiddy,” called Beers, conciliatingly; but Eugene swung down the road without another look. All his grace of manner was forgot in the stir of passion within him. What had Dorothy Fair meant by that look? Was she betrothed to Burr Gordon? Was she playing with him for her own amusement? And what was he to do, what could he do, for the sake of his love, with honor?