“Certainly not,” he replied, forcibly, with a dark flush spreading over his face.
“Then—you love me?” she whispered.
“Yes—I love you,” he returned, deliberately. “And in spite of all you say—very probably more than you love me. . . . But you, like all women, make love and its expression the sole object of life. Carley, I have been concerned with keeping my body from the grave and my soul from hell.”
“But—dear—you’re well now?” she returned, with trembling lips.
“Yes, I’ve almost pulled out.”
“Then what is wrong?”
“Wrong?—With me or you,” he queried, with keen, enigmatical glance upon her.
“What is wrong between us? There is something.”
“Carley, a man who has been on the verge—as I have been—seldom or never comes back to happiness. But perhaps—”
“You frighten me,” cried Carley, and, rising, she sat upon the arm of his chair and encircled his neck with her arms. “How can I help if I do not understand? Am I so miserably little? . . . Glenn, must I tell you? No woman can live without love. I need to be loved. That’s all that’s wrong with me.”
“Carley, you are still an imperious, mushy girl,” replied Glenn, taking her into his arms. “I need to be loved, too. But that’s not what is wrong with me. You’ll have to find it out yourself.”
“You’re a dear old Sphinx,” she retorted.
“Listen, Carley,” he said, earnestly. “About this love-making stuff. Please don’t misunderstand me. I love you. I’m starved for your kisses. But—is it right to ask them?”
“Right! Aren’t we engaged? And don’t I want to give them?”
“If I were only sure we’d be married!” he said, in low, tense voice, as if speaking more to himself.
“Married!” cried Carley, convulsively clasping him. “Of course we’ll be married. Glenn, you wouldn’t jilt me?”
“Carley, what I mean is that you might never really marry me,” he answered, seriously.
“Oh, if that’s all you need be sure of, Glenn Kilbourne, you may begin to make love to me now.”
It was late when Carley went up to her room. And she was in such a softened mood, so happy and excited and yet disturbed in mind, that the coldness and the darkness did not matter in the least. She undressed in pitchy blackness, stumbling over chair and bed, feeling for what she needed. And in her mood this unusual proceeding was fun. When ready for bed she opened the door to take a peep out. Through the dense blackness the waterfall showed dimly opaque. Carley felt a soft mist wet her face. The low roar of the falling water seemed to envelop her. Under the cliff wall brooded impenetrable gloom. But out above the treetops shone great stars, wonderfully white and radiant and cold, with a piercing contrast to the deep clear blue of sky. The waterfall hummed into an absolutely dead silence. It emphasized the silence. Not only cold was it that made Carley shudder. How lonely, how lost, how hidden this canyon!