They turned in through a picket gate and up a walk flanked by flower-beds and outlined between rows of inverted glass bottles set side by side, the Bahama idea of neatness and beauty. At the end of the walk stood a cottage with wide porches hidden beneath jasmine and honeysuckle and morning-glory vines.
O’Reilly’s eyes were shining with anticipation; he yodeled loudly. But there was no need for him to advertise his return, for at the first click of the gate-latch a figure had started from the fragrant bower and now came flying to meet him.
“Look, Rosa!” Jacket lifted the heavy string of fish. “We had stupendous luck.” But Rosa was in her husband’s arms and neither she nor O’Reilly had eyes for anything but each other.
“You were gone for ages,” pouted the bride.
“You missed me, eh?”
“See! I caught the biggest ones, as usual,” Jacket boasted. “I’m a skilful fisherman and I talk to my hook, but O’Reilly sits dreaming about somebody while the little crabs eat all his bait.” When this evoked no notice the boy shrugged in disgust and went on around the house, muttering: “Caramba! You’d think they’d get sick of so much billing and cooing. But no! I have to steal him away and take him swimming or fishing if I want a word alone with him. And the others are just as bad—another pair of pigeons. It’s like living in a dove-cote.”
Rosa, too, had vastly changed. She was clad in a charming little muslin dress, there were dimples in her cheeks, she wore a heavy Mardchal Neil bud at her breast. O’Reilly held her off and devoured her with his eyes.
“Sweetheart, you grow fresher and more beautiful every hour,” said he.
Rosa danced upon her toes, and tugged at him. “But come quickly and see the surprise we have. I’ve been wild for your return, so hurry.” She led him swiftly up the steps, and there, standing beside a chair, was Esteban Varona. “He dressed himself and walked out here alone. He’s well!”
The brother nodded decisively. “It’s true. I rebelled at last. To-morrow I’ll walk to the gate and the next day we’ll go fishing.”
“Jove! How splendid!”
“Why, I’m as firm on my feet as a rock.”
Norine emerged through one of the French windows and explained: “He took advantage of me while I was gone for the mail, and now he’s quite out of control. Here’s a letter from Leslie, by the way. He’s home and has a position and hopes we’ll follow soon. There’s one bit of news; he says the talk of intervention increases and he may have to return to Cuba as a war correspondent. Fancy! He’s deathly frightened at the prospect.”
“Intervention! That would be fine,” Esteban cried. O’Reilly nodded. “Oh, it’s bound to come, and when Uncle Sam takes hold Cuba will be free.”
Norine agreed: “I’m sure of it. And then—we’ll all go back to our rainbow’s end and dig for that pot of gold.”