It was bitterly cold in their poor, low-roofed cottage. If Gaud had only remained rich, what happiness she would have felt in arranging a pretty room, not like this one on the bare ground! She was scarcely yet used to these rugged granite walls, and the rough look of all things around; but her Yann was there now, and by his presence everything was changed and transfigured. She saw only her husband. Their lips met now; no turning aside. Still standing with their arms intertwined tightly to draw themselves together, they remained dumb, in the perfect ecstasy of a never-ending kiss. Their fluttering breath commingled, and both quivered as if in a burning fever. They seemed without power to tear themselves apart, and knew nothing and desired nothing beyond that long kiss of consecrated love.
She drew herself away, suddenly agitated. “Nay, Yann! Granny Yvonne might see us,” she faltered.
But he, with a smile, sought his wife’s lips again and fastened his own upon them, like a thirsty man whose cup of fresh water had been taken from him.
The movement they had made broke the charm of delightful hesitation. Yann, who, at the first, was going to kneel to her as before a saint, felt himself fired again. He glanced stealthily towards the old oaken bunk, irritated at being so close to the old woman, and seeking some way not to be spied upon, but ever without breaking away from those exquisite lips.
He stretched forth his arm behind him, and with the back of his hand dashed out the light, as if the wind had done it. Then he snatched her up in his arms. Still holding her close, with his mouth continually pressed to hers, he seemed like a wild lion with his teeth embedded in his prey. For her part she gave herself up entirely, to that body and soul seizure that was imperious and without possible resistance, even though it remained soft as a great all-comprising embrace.
Around them, for their wedding hymn, the same invisible orchestra, played on——“Hoo-ooh-hoo!” At times the wind bellowed out in its deep noise, with a tremolo of rage; and again repeated its threats, as if with refined cruelty, in low sustained tones, flute-like as the hoot of an owl.
The broad, fathomless grave of all sailors lay nigh to them, restless and ravenous, drumming against the cliffs with its muffled boom.
One night or another Yann would have to be caught in that maw, and battle with it in the midst of the terror of ice as well. Both knew this plainly.
But what mattered that now to them on land, sheltered from the sea’s futile fury. In their poor gloomy cottage, over which tempest rushed, they scorned all that was hostile, intoxicated and delightfully fortified against the whole by the eternal magic of love.
CHAPTER VIII—THE BLISSFUL WEEK
For six days they were husband and wife. In this time of leave-taking the preparations for the Iceland season occupied everybody. The women heaped up the salt for the pickle in the holds of the vessels; the men saw to the masts and rigging. Yann’s mother and sisters worked from morning till night at the making of the sou’westers and oilskin waterproofs.