Mercedes came in, radiant and soft-voiced. She fell upon her knees beside Thorne's bed, and neither of them appeared to see Nell enter with a tray. Then Gale and Nell made a good deal of unnecessary bustle in moving a small table close to the bed. Mercedes had forgotten for the moment that her lover had been a starving man. If Thorne remembered it he did not care. They held hands and looked at each other without speaking.
"Nell, I thought I had it bad," whispered Dick. "But I'm not--"
"Hush. It's beautiful," replied Nell, softly; and she tried to coax Dick from the room.
Dick, however, thought he ought to remain at least long enough to tell Thorne that a man in his condition could not exist solely upon love.
Mercedes sprang up blushing with pretty, penitent manner and moving white hands eloquent of her condition.
"Oh, Mercedes--don't go!" cried Thorne, as she stepped to the door.
"Senor Dick will stay. He is not mucha malo for you--as I am."
"Good Lord!" exclaimed Thorne. "How I love her. Dick, isn't she the most beautiful, the loveliest, the finest--"