"What is the matter with you?" asked Arobin that evening. "I never found yo_n such a happy mood." Edna was tired by that time, and was reclining on th_ounge before the fire.
"Don't you know the weather prophet has told us we shall see the sun prett_oon?"
"Well, that ought to be reason enough," he acquiesced. "You wouldn't give m_nother if I sat here all night imploring you." He sat close to her on a lo_abouret, and as he spoke his fingers lightly touched the hair that fell _ittle over her forehead. She liked the touch of his fingers through her hair,
and closed her eyes sensitively.
"One of these days," she said, "I'm going to pull myself together for a whil_nd think—try to determine what character of a woman I am; for, candidly, _on't know. By all the codes which I am acquainted with, I am a devilishl_icked specimen of the sex. But some way I can't convince myself that I am. _ust think about it."
"Don't. What's the use? Why should you bother thinking about it when I ca_ell you what manner of woman you are." His fingers strayed occasionally dow_o her warm, smooth cheeks and firm chin, which was growing a little full an_ouble.
"Oh, yes! You will tell me that I am adorable; everything that is captivating.
Spare yourself the effort."
"No; I shan't tell you anything of the sort, though I shouldn't be lying if _id."
"Do you know Mademoiselle Reisz?" she asked irrelevantly.
"The pianist? I know her by sight. I've heard her play."
"She says queer things sometimes in a bantering way that you don't notice a_he time and you find yourself thinking about afterward."
"Well, for instance, when I left her to-day, she put her arms around me an_elt my shoulder blades, to see if my wings were strong, she said. `The bir_hat would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must hav_trong wings. It is a sad spectacle to see the weaklings bruised, exhausted,
fluttering back to earth.' "Whither would you soar?"
"I'm not thinking of any extraordinary flights. I only half comprehend her."
"I've heard she's partially demented," said Arobin.
"She seems to me wonderfully sane," Edna replied.
"I'm told she's extremely disagreeable and unpleasant. Why have you introduce_er at a moment when I desired to talk of you?"
"Oh! talk of me if you like," cried Edna, clasping her hands beneath her head;
"but let me think of something else while you do."
"I'm jealous of your thoughts tonight. They're making you a little kinder tha_sual; but some way I feel as if they were wandering, as if they were not her_ith me." She only looked at him and smiled. His eyes were very near. H_eaned upon the lounge with an arm extended across her, while the other han_till rested upon her hair. They continued silently to look into each other'_yes. When he leaned forward and kissed her, she clasped his head, holding hi_ips to hers.
It was the first kiss of her life to which her nature had really responded. I_as a flaming torch that kindled desire.