Robert Chambers.

The Restless Sex



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But through the open window sunshine streamed, and presently she saw the red-cloaked figure down by the river's edge; heard the girl's sweet laughter float out among the willows – enchanting, gay, care-free laughter, where she had waded out into the shallow rapids and now stood knee-deep, challenging her lover to follow her if he dared.

Then Helen saw his white-flannelled figure wading boldly out through the water in pursuit; saw the slim, red-cloaked girl turn to flee; went closer to the window and stood with the written message in her hand, watching the distant scene through eyes dimmed with those illogical tears which women shed when there is nothing else in the world to do.

It was plain that they thought themselves all alone in the world, with the sunrise and the blue mountains as an agreeable setting, created as a background for them alone.

Twice the girl narrowly escaped capture; above the rush of the river their gales of laughter came back on the summer wind. Suddenly she slipped, fell with a cry into a deeper pool, and was caught up by him and carried shoreward, with her white arms around his neck and her lips resting on his.

And as the tall young lover, dripping from head to foot, came striding across the lawn with all he loved on earth laughing up at him in his arms, the girl at the window turned away and went into her own room with the written message in her hand.

And there, seated on the edge of her bed, she read it over and over, crying, uncertain, wondering whether she might not withhold it for a few hours more.

Because life is very wonderful, and youth more wonderful still. And there is always time to talk of life and death when daylight dies and the last laugh is spent – when shadows fall, and blossoms close, and birds grow silent among the branches.

She did not know why she was crying. She had not cared for the dead man.

She looked out through drawn blinds at the sunshine, not knowing why she wept, not knowing what to do.

Then, from the hall came Stephanie's ecstatic voice:

"Helen! Wake up, darling, and come down! Because Jim and I have the most wonderful thing in the world to tell you!"

But on the paper in her lap was written something more wonderful still. For there is nothing more wonderful than that beginning of everything which is called the end.

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