“I have thought of all that. Providence gave me the solution,” she said, her face beaming with the joy of victory.
“Not even Providence can supply an explanation,” he groaned.
“You forget Courant, the dead man. He cannot deny the charge if I conclude to accuse him of the crime. He is the solution!”
LOVE IS BLIND
“But Ugo can disprove it,” he said, after a moment’s thought.
“Only by confessing his own duplicity,” she said, tranquilly.
“You will not marry him, Dorothy?”
She looked him full in the eyes, and no word could have answered plainer than the disdain which swept across her lovely face.
“What do you think of me, Phil?” she asked, in hurt tones, and he answered with his eyes because he could not trust his voice.
The longing to throw her arms about the man whose burning eyes had set her heart afire was almost uncontrollable; the hope that he would throw off restraint and cry out his love, drove her timidly into silent expectancy. His whole soul surged to his lips and eyes, but he fought back the words that would have made them both so happy. He knew she loved him; the taintest whisper from him would cause her lips to breathe the passion her eyes revealed. And yet he was strong enough to bide his time.
How long this exquisite communion of thoughts lasted neither knew nor cared. Through the leafy wood they drove, in utter silence, both understanding, both revealing, both waiting. He dared not look at the glorious, love-lit face, he dared not speak to her, he dared not tempt the heart that might betray his head. It was he who at last broke that joyous calm, and his voice was husky with suppressed emotion.
“You will not forget that some day I am coming to you as Phil Quentin and not in the mask of a bandit.”
’’I shall expect you, robber, to appear before a certain tribunal and there explain, if you can, what led you to commit the crime that has shocked the world,” she said, brightly.
“I implore the leniency of the high court,” he said, tenderly.
“The court can only put you on probation and exact the promise that you will never steal another girl.”
“And the length of probation?”
“For all your natural life,” demurely.
“Then I must appeal to a higher court,” he said, soberly.
“What?” she cried. “Do you object to the judgment?”
“Not at all,” he said, earnestly. “I will merely appeal to the higher court for permission to live forever.” Both laughed with the buoyancy that comes from suppressed delight. “It occurs to me, Dorothy,” said he, a few minutes later, “that we are a long time in reaching the town Father Bivot told me about. We seem to be in the wilds, and he said there were a number of houses within five miles of Craneycrow. Have we passed a single habitation?”