Diane of the Green Van (Chapter 44, page 2 of 13)

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Chapter 44

When she awoke, with a nervous start, Johnny was down at the edge of the lake scouring pans with sand and whistling blithely. Off there to the west, with Aunt Agatha fussing at his heels, Philip was good-naturedly gathering the lilies at the water's edge. And some one was approaching camp from the northern road.

Diane glanced carelessly to the north and sprang to her feet with wild scarlet in her cheeks.

Ronador was coming through the forest.

His color was a little high, his eyes, beneath the peak of his motoring cap profoundly apologetic, but he was easier in manner than Diane.

"I'm offending, I know," he said steadily, "and I crave forgiveness, but muster an indifferent gift of patience as best I may, I can not wait. It is weeks, you recall--"

Diane flushed brightly.

"Yes," she said. "I know. I have been in the Everglades."

"Your aunt told me." Ronador searched her face suddenly with peculiar intentness. He might have added, with perfect truth, that to Aunt Agatha, who had indiscreetly afforded him a glimpse of her niece's letter, might be attributed the halting of the long, black car on the road to the north. "You have no single word of welcome, then!" he reproached abruptly and impatiently brushed his hair back from his forehead with a hand that shook a little.

From the north came the clatter of a motorcycle.

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