"Dick, you must be very blind not to see what has been plain to all of us....I guess--it couldn't have been helped. You're a splendid fellow. No wonder she loves you."
"Mother! You'll give her to me?"
She drew him to the light and looked with strange, piercing intentness into his face. Gale had never dreamed a woman's eyes could hold such a world of thought and feeling. It seemed all the sweetness of life was there, and all the pain.
"Ah, I want to! As much as I want to live and work for her."
"Why!...Just as soon as she will do it. To-morrow!" Dick gave a wild, exultant little laugh.
"Dick Gale, you want my Nell? You love her just as she is--her sweetness--her goodness? Just herself, body and soul?...There's nothing could change you--nothing?"
"Dear Mrs. Belding, I love Nell for herself. If she loves me I'll be the happiest of men. There's absolutely nothing that could make any difference in me."
"But your people? Oh, Dick, you come of a proud family. I can tell. I--I once knew a young man like you. A few months can't change pride--blood. Years can't change them. You've become a ranger. You love the adventure--the wild life. That won't last. Perhaps you'll settle down to ranching. I know you love the West. But, Dick, there's your family--"