"Dear Dick--de-dear Dick, my heart is breaking," faltered Nell, as she clung to him.
"It might be breaking for Mercedes--for Laddy and Jim. I want to hear something for myself. Something to have on long marches--round lonely campfires. Something to keep my spirit alive. Oh, Nell, you can't imagine that silence out there--that terrible world of sand and stone!...Do you love me?"
"Yes, yes. Oh, I love you so! I never knew it till now. I love you so. Dick, I'll be safe and I'll wait--and hope and pray for your return."
"If I come back--no--when I come back, will you marry me?"
"I--I--oh yes!" she whispered, and returned his kiss.
Belding was in the room speaking softly.
"Nell, darling, I must go," said Dick.
"I'm a selfish little coward," cried Nell. "It's so splendid of you all. I ought to glory in it, but I can't. ...Fight if you must, Dick. Fight for that lovely persecuted girl. I'll love you--the more....Oh! Good-by! Good-by!"