"Hello, Dick; I didn't dream it then," he said. "There you are, and my darling with the proud, dark eyes--she's here?"
"Why, yes, you locoed cavalryman."
"Say, what's happened to you? It can't be those clothes and a little bronze on your face....Dick, you're older--you've changed. You're not so thickly built. By Gad, if you don't look fine!"
"Thanks. I'm sorry I can't return the compliment. You're about the seediest, hungriest-looking fellow I ever saw....Say, old man, you must have had a tough time."
A dark and somber fire burned out the happiness in Thorne's eyes.
"Dick, don't make me--don't let me think of that fiend Rojas!....I'm here now. I'll be well in a day or two. Then!..."
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--"