"Really," said Rosamund stoutly, "I don't know what you mean."
"What a lie!" cried Michael, advancing on her with brightening eyes. "I'm all for lies in an ordinary way; but don't you see that to-noght they won't do? We've wandered into a world of facts, old girl. That grass growing, and that sun going down, and that cab at the door, are facts. You used to torment and excuse yourself by saying I was after your money, and didn't really love you. But if I stood here now, and told you I didn't love you--you wouldn't believe me. For truth is in this garden to-night."
"Really, Mr. Moon . . ." said Rosamund, rather more faintly.
He kept two big blue magnetic eyes fixed on her face. "Is my name Moon?" he asked. "Is your name Hunt? On my honour, they sound to me as quaint and distant as Red Indian names. It's as if your name was 'Swim,' and my name was 'Sunrise.' But our real names are Husband and Wife, as they were when we fell asleep."
"It is no good," said Rosamund, with no real tears in her eyes; "one can never go back."
"I can go where I damn please," said Michael, "and I can carry you on my shoulder."
"But really, Michael, really, you must stop and think!" cried the girl earnestly. "You could carry me off my feet I dar say, soul and body, but it may be bitter bad business for all that. These things done in that romantic rush, like Mr. Smith's, they--they do attract women, I don't deny it. As you say, we're all telling the truth to-night. They've attracted poor Mary, for one. They attract me, Michael. But the cold fact remains: imprudent marriages do lead to long unhappiness and disappointment--you've got used to your drinks and things--I shan't be pretty much longer--"
"Imprudent marriages!" roared Michael. "And pray where in earth or heaven are there any prudent marriages? Might as well talk about prudent suicides. You and I have dawdled round each other long enough, and are we any safer than Smith and Mary Gray who met last night? You never know a husband till you marry him. Unhappy! Of course you'll be unhappy! Who the devil are you that you shouldn't be unhappy, like the mother that bore you? Disappointed! Of course we'll be disappointed! I, for one, don't exptect till I die to be so good a man as I am at this minute, for just now I'm fifty thousand feet high, a tower with all the trumpets shouting."
"You see all this," said Rosamund, with a grand sincerity in her solid face, "and do you really want to marry me?"
"My darling, what else is there to do?" reasoned the Irishman. "What other occupation is there for an active man on this earth, except to marry you? What's the alternative to marriage, barring sleep? It's not liberty, Rosamund. Unless you marry God, as our nuns do in Ireland, you must marry Man; that is Me. The only third thing is to marry yourself--to live with yourself--yourself, yourself, yourself--the only companion that is never satisfied--and never satisfactory."