At the Earth's Core

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 104

cave I could not see her features, and I was rather
glad, for I disliked to think of the hate that I should have read there.

I never said a word to her at first. I just strode across the cave and
grasped her by the wrists, and when she struggled, I put my arm around
her so as to pinion her hands to her sides. She fought like a tigress,
but I took my free hand and pushed her head back--I imagine that I had
suddenly turned brute, that I had gone back a thousand million years,
and was again a veritable cave man taking my mate by force--and then I
kissed that beautiful mouth again and again.

"Dian," I cried, shaking her roughly, "I love you. Can't you
understand that I love you? That I love you better than all else in
this world or my own? That I am going to have you? That love like
mine cannot be denied?"

I noticed that she lay very still in my arms now, and as my eyes became
accustomed to the light I saw that she was smiling--a very contented,
happy smile. I was thunderstruck. Then I realized that, very gently,
she was trying to disengage her arms, and I loosened my grip upon them
so that she could do so. Slowly they came up and stole about my neck,
and then she drew my lips down to hers once more and held them there
for a long time. At last she spoke.

"Why didn't you do this at first, David? I have been waiting so long."

"What!" I cried. "You said that you hated me!"

"Did you expect me to run into your arms, and say that I loved you
before I knew that you loved me?" she asked.

"But I have told you right along that I love you," I said. "Love
speaks in acts," she replied. "You could have made your mouth say what
you wished it to say, but just now when you came and took me in your
arms your heart spoke to mine in the language that a woman's heart
understands. What a silly man you are, David?"

"Then you haven't hated me at all, Dian?" I asked.

"I have loved you always," she whispered, "from the first moment that I
saw you, although I did not know it until that time you struck down
Hooja the Sly One, and then spurned me."

"But I didn't spurn you, dear," I cried.

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