He woke the glassy water to swirling activity again, and made the deep-blue shapes below writhe and shiver.
“This is my thing,” said Ann Veronica, softly, with thoughtful eyes upon him.
Then she looked up the sweep of pine-trees to the towering sunlit cliffs and the high heaven above and then back to his face. She drew in a deep breath of the sweet mountain air. Her eyes were soft and grave, and there was the faintest of smiles upon her resolute lips.
Later they loitered along a winding path above the inn, and made love to one another. Their journey had made them indolent, the afternoon was warm, and it seemed impossible to breathe a sweeter air. The flowers and turf, a wild strawberry, a rare butterfly, and suchlike little intimate things had become more interesting than mountains. Their flitting hands were always touching. Deep silences came between them....
“I had thought to go on to Kandersteg,” said Capes, “but this is a pleasant place. There is not a soul in the inn but ourselves. Let us stay the night here. Then we can loiter and gossip to our heart’s content.”
“Agreed,” said Ann Veronica.
“After all, it’s our honeymoon.”
“All we shall get,” said Ann Veronica.
“This place is very beautiful.”
“Any place would be beautiful,” said Ann Veronica, in a low voice.
For a time they walked in silence.
“I wonder,” she began, presently, “why I love you—and love you so much?... I know now what it is to be an abandoned female. I am an abandoned female. I’m not ashamed—of the things I’m doing. I want to put myself into your hands. You know—I wish I could roll my little body up small and squeeze it into your hand and grip your fingers upon it. Tight. I want you to hold me and have me so.... Everything. Everything. It’s a pure joy of giving—giving to you. I have never spoken of these things to any human being. Just dreamed—and ran away even from my dreams. It is as if my lips had been sealed about them. And now I break the seals—for you. Only I wish—I wish to-day I was a thousand times, ten thousand times more beautiful.”
Capes lifted her hand and kissed it.
“You are a thousand times more beautiful,” he said, “than anything else could be.... You are you. You are all the beauty in the world. Beauty doesn’t mean, never has meant, anything—anything at all but you. It heralded you, promised you....”
They lay side by side in a shallow nest of turf and mosses among bowlders and stunted bushes on a high rock, and watched the day sky deepen to evening between the vast precipices overhead and looked over the tree-tops down the widening gorge. A distant suggestion of chalets and a glimpse of the road set them talking for a time of the world they had left behind.