Part 6 out of 6
where I come from it is not in vogue."
"No, I reckon not. Back there a boy persuades girl he loves her
by ruining her digestion with candy and all sorts of ice
arrangements from soda-fountain. But I'm uncivilized enough to
assume you're a woman of sense and not a spoiled schoolgirl."
The velvet night was attuned to the rhythm of her love. She felt
herself, in this sea of moon romance, being swept from her
moorings. Star-eyed, she gazed at him while she still fought
again his dominance.
"You ARE uncivilized. Would you beat me when I didn't obey?" she
He laughed in slow contentment. "Perhaps; but I'd love you while
I did it."
"Oh, you would love me." She looked across under her long lashes,
not as boldly as she would have liked, and her gaze fell before
his. "I haven t heard before that that was in the compact you
proposed. I don't think you have remembered to mention it."
He swung from the saddle and put a hand to her bridle rein.
"Get down," he ordered.
"Because I say so. Get down."
She looked down at him, a man out of a thousand and for her one
out of a hundred million. Before she was conscious of willing it
she stood beside him. He trailed the reins of the ponies, and in
two strides came back to her.
"I want you. girl." His arm swept round her, and he held her
while he looked down into her shining eyes. "So I haven't told
you that I love you. Did you need to be told?"
"We must go on," she murmured weakly. "Frances and Lieutenant
"--Have their own love-affairs to attend to.
"We'll manage ours and not intrude."
"They might think--"
He laughed in deep delight. "--that we love each other. They're
welcome to the thought. I haven't told you that I love you, eh? I
tell you now. It's my last trump, and right here I table it. I'm
no desert poet, but I love you from that dark crown of yours to
those little feet that tap the floor so impatient sometimes. I
love you all the time, no matter what mood you're in--when you
flash dark angry eyes at me and when you laugh in that slow,
understanding way nobody else in God's world has the trick of.
Makes no difference to me whether you're glad or mad, I want you
just the same. That's the reason why I'm going to make you love
"You can't do it." Her voice was very low and not quite steady.
"Why not--I'll show you."
"But you can't--for a good reason."
"Put a name to it."
"Because. Oh, you big blind man--because I love you already." She
burlesqued his drawl with a little joyous laugh: "I reckon if
you're right set on it I'll have to marry you, Val Collins."
His arm tightened about her as if he would hold her against the
whole world. His ardent eyes possessed hers. She felt herself
grow faint with a poignant delight. Her lips met his slowly in
their first kiss.