by Elinor Glyn
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Arabella listened intently. Surely the patient was whispering something? Yes, she caught the words.

"Halcyone!" he murmured, and again, "Halcyone—my love!" and then he closed his eyes once more.

He would live, the physicians said after some hours of doubt—with very careful nursing. But the long exposure in the wet, twenty-four hours at least, with that wound in the head and the broken ankle, was a very serious matter, and absolute quiet and the most highly skilled attention would be necessary.

It was Arabella who made all the sensible, kind arrangements that night, and herself sat up with the poor suffering patient until the nurses could come. But it was Mrs. Cricklander who, dignified and composed, received the doctors after the consultation with Sir Benjamin Grant next day, before the celebrated surgeon left for London, and she made her usual good impression upon the great man.

That the local lights thought far more highly of Arabella did not matter. Mrs. Cricklander was wise enough to know, it is upon the exalted that a good effect must be produced.

"And, you are sure, Sir Benjamin, that he will get quite well?" she said tenderly, allowing her handsome eyes to melt upon the surgeon's face. "It matters enormously to me, you know." Then she looked down.

Thus appealed to, Sir Benjamin felt he must give her all the assurance he could.

"Perfectly, dear lady," he said, pressing her soft hand in sympathy. "He is young and strong, and fortunately it has not touched his brain. But it will take time and gentlest nursing, which you will see, of course, that he gets."

"Indeed, yes," the fair Cecilia said. And when they were all gone, she summoned Arabella.

"You will let me know, Arabella, every minute change in him," she commanded, "especially when he seems conscious. And you will tell him how I am watching over him and doing everything for him. I can't bear sick people—they upset my nerves, and I just can't stand them. But the moment he is all right enough to see me so that it won't bore me, I'll come. You understand? Now I must really have a trional and get some rest."

And when she was alone she went deliberately to the glass and smiled radiantly to herself as she whispered aloud:

"So he isn't going to die or be an idiot. In a few years he can still be Prime Minister. And I have got him now, as sure as fate!"

Then she closed her mouth with that firm snap Arabella knew so well, and, swallowing her sleeping draught, she composed herself for a peaceful siesta.


It required all Halcyone's fortitude to act the part of unconcern which was necessary after the post had come in and no letter for herself had arrived. The only possibility of getting through the time until she should reach London, and be able to communicate with Cheiron would, be resolutely to forbid her thoughts from turning in any speculative direction. She knew nothing but good could come to her—was she not protected from all harm by every strong force of the night winds, the beautiful stars and the God Who owned them all? Therefore it followed that this seeming disaster to her happiness must be only a temporary thing, and if she bore it calmly it would soon pass. Or, even if it delayed, there was the analogy of the winter which for more than four months of the year numbed the earth, often with weeping rain and frost, but, however severe it should be, there was always the tender springtime following, and glorious summer, and then the fulfillment of autumn and its fruits. So she must not be cast down—she must have faith and not tremble.

She made herself converse gently with her stepfather's wife, and won her liking before they reached Paddington station. If she had not been so highly strung and preoccupied, she would have been thrilled in all her fine senses at the idea of leaving Upminster, further than which she had never been for the twelve long years of her residence at La Sarthe Chase; but now, except that all appeared a wild rush and a bewildering noise, the journey to London made no impression upon her. It was swallowed up in the one longing to get there—to be able somehow to communicate with Cheiron, and have her anxiety laid to rest.

The newsboys were selling the evening papers when they arrived, but her eyes, so unaccustomed to all these new sights, did not warn her to scan the headlines, though as they were reaching Grosvenor Gardens where Mr. Anderton's town-house was situated, she did see the words: "Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs." The sheet had fallen forward and only this line was visible.

They did not strike her very forcibly. She was quite unacquainted with the custom of advertising sensational news in London. It might be the usual political announcements—it surely was, since she saw another sheet as they got to the door with "Crisis in the Cabinet" upon it. And it comforted her greatly. John, of course, was concerned with this, and had been summoned back suddenly, having had no possible time to let her know. He who was so true an Englishman must think of his country first. It seemed like an answer to her prayers, and enabled her to go in and greet her stepfather with calm and quiet.

James Anderton had come from the city in the best of tempers. The day had been a good one. He had received his wife's telegram announcing that Halcyone would accompany her on her return, and awaited her arrival with a certain amount of uneasy curiosity and interest. Would the girl be still so terribly like Elaine and the rest of the La Sarthe—especially Timothy, that scapegrace, handsome Timothy, her father, on whose memory and his own bargain with Timothy's widow he never cared much to dwell?

Yes, she was, d——d like—after a while he decided; with just the same set of head and careless grace, and that hateful stamp of breeding that had so lamentably escaped his own children, half La Sarthe, too. It was just Timothy of the gray eyes come back again—not Elaine so much now, not at all, in fact, except in the line of the throat.

His solid, coarse voice was a little husky, and those who knew him well would have been aware that James Anderton was greatly moved as he bid his stepdaughter welcome.

And when she had gone off to her room, accompanied by the boisterous Mabel and Ethel, he said to his wife:

"Lu, you must get the girl some decent clothes. She looks confoundedly a lady, but that rubbish isn't fair to her. Rig her out as good as the rest—no expense spared. See to it to-morrow, my dear."

And Mrs. Anderton promised. She adored shopping, and this would be a labor of love. So she went off to dress for dinner, full of visions of bright pinks and blues and laces and ribbons that would have made Halcyone shrink if she had known.

Mabel was magnificently patronizing and talked a jargon of fashionable slang which Halcyone hardly understood. Some transient gleam of her beloved mother kept suggesting itself to her when Mabel smiled. The memory was not distinct enough for her to know what it was, but it hurt her. The big, bouncing, overdeveloped girl had so little of the personality which she had treasured all these years as of her mother—treasured even more than remembered.

Ethel had no faintest look of La Sarthe, and was a nice, jolly, ordinary young person—dear to her father's heart.

At last they left Halcyone alone with Priscilla, and presently the two threw themselves into each other's arms—for the old nurse was crying bitterly now, rocking herself to and fro.

"Ah! how it all comes back to me, my lamb," she sobbed. "He's just the same, only older. Hard and kind and generous and never understanding a thing that mattered to your poor, beautiful mother. Oh! she was glad to go at the end, but for leaving you. Dear lady!—all borne to pay your father's debts, which Mr. Anderton had took up. I can't never forgive him quite—I can't never."

And Halcyone, overcome with her long strain of emotion, cried, too, for a few minutes before she could resume her stern self-control.

But at dinner she was calm again, and pale only for the shadows under her wide eyes.

She had written her letter to Cheiron—she knew not of such things as messenger-boys or cabs, and had got Priscilla to post it for her, and now with enforced quiet awaited his answer which she thought she could receive on the morrow.

"There has been a crisis in the Cabinet, has there not?" she said to her stepfather, hoping to hear something, and James Anderton replied that there had been some split—but for his part, the sooner this rotten lot of sleepers had gone out the better he would be pleased; a good sound Radical he was, like his friend Mr. Hanbury-Green.

Halcyone abruptly turned the conversation. She could not, she felt, discuss her beloved and his opinions, even casually, with this man of another class.

Oh! her poor mother—her poor, sweet mother! How terrible it must have been to her to be married to such a person!—though her common sense prompted her to add he was probably, under her influence, not nearly so coarse and bluff in those days as now he appeared to be.

Her little stepbrother, James Albert, had not returned from his private school for the summer holidays, so she perhaps would not see him during her visit.

As the dinner went on everything struck her as glaring, from the footmen's liveries to the bunches of red carnations; and the blazing electric lights confused her brain. She, the little country mouse, accustomed only to old William's gentle shufflings, and the two tall silver candlesticks with their one wax taper in each!

She could not eat the rich food, and if she had known it, she looked like a being from some shadowy world among the hearty crew.

Next morning Mr. Carlyon received her letter as he began his early breakfast; and he tugged at his silver beard, while his penthouse brows met.

The matter required the most careful consideration. He enormously disliked to have to play the role of arbiter of fate, but he loved Halcyone more than anything else in the world, and felt bound to use what force he possessed to secure her happiness—or, if that looked too difficult, which he admitted it did, he must try and save her from further unnecessary pain.

He had the day before received John Derringham's letter written from Wendover and which Mrs. Porrit had redirected, containing the news of the intended wedding, and it had angered him greatly.

He blazed with indignation! His peerless one to be made to take a mistress's place when any man should be proud to make her his honored wife! "The brutal selfishness of men," he said to himself, not blaming John Derringham in particular. "He ought to have gone off and left her alone when he felt he was beginning to care, if he had not pluck enough to stand the racket. But we are all the same—we must have what we want, and the women must pay—confound us!"

He had never doubted but that, when he read the letter, Halcyone was already his old pupil's wife—if indeed such a ceremony were legal, she being under age. And this thought added to his wrath, and he intended to look the matter up and see. But, before he could do so, he got an evening paper and read a brief notice that John Derringham had met with a severe accident—of what exact nature the press association had not yet learned—and was lying in a critical condition at Wendover Park, the country seat of the "beautiful American society leader, Mrs. Vincent Cricklander," with whose name rumor had already connected the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in the most interesting manner, the paragraph added.

So Fate had stepped in and saved his pure night flower, after all! But at what sort of price? And Cheiron stared into space with troubled eyes.

He passed hours of anxious thought. He never did anything in a hurry, and felt that now he must especially consider what would be his wisest course.

And then, this next morning, Halcyone's letter had come.

It was very simple. It told of Mrs. Anderton's arrival at La Sarthe Chase and of her own return to London with her—and then the real pith of it had crept out. Had he heard any news of Mr. Derringham? Because she had seen his writing upon a letter Mrs. Porrit was readdressing at the orchard house and, observing it was from London, she presumed he was there, and she hoped she should see him.

The Professor stopped abruptly here.

"What a woman it is, after all!" he exclaimed. He himself had never noticed the postmark on John Derringham's envelope! Then he folded Halcyone's pitiful little communication absently, and thought deeply.

Two things were evident. Firstly, John Derringham had been disabled before the hour when he should have met his bride; and secondly, she was, when she wrote, unaware that he had had any accident at all. She must thus be very unhappy and full of horrible anxiety—his dear little girl!

But what courage and fortitude she showed, he mused on, not to give the situation away and lament even to him, her old friend. She plainly intended to stand by the man she loved and never admit she had been going to marry him until he himself gave her leave.

"The one woman with a soul," Cheiron muttered, and rubbed the mist away which had gathered in his eyes.

He revolved the situation over and over. Halcyone must be made aware of the accident, if she had not already read of it in the morning papers; but she must not be allowed to do anything rash—and as he got thus far in his meditations, a waiter knocked at the old-fashioned sitting-room door, and Halcyone herself brushed past him into the room.

She was deadly pale, and for a moment did not speak.

Mrs. Anderton, it appeared, thinking she would be tired from her unaccustomed journey, had suggested she should breakfast in bed, which Halcyone, thankful to be alone, had gratefully agreed to; and when on her breakfast tray which came up at eight o'clock she saw a daily paper, she had eagerly opened it, and after searching the unfamiliar sheets for the political news, her eye had caught the paragraph about John Derringham's accident. In this particular journal the notice was merely the brief one of the evening before, but it was enough to wring Halcyone's heart.

She bounded from bed and got Priscilla to dress her in the shortest possible time, and the faithful nurse, seeing that her beloved lamb was in some deep distress, forbore to question her.

Nothing would have stopped Halcyone from going out, but she hoped to do so unperceived.

"Look if the way is clear to the door," she implored Priscilla, "while I put on my hat. I must go to the Professor at once—something dreadful has happened."

So Priscilla went and contrived so that she got Halcyone out of the front door while the servants were busy in the dining-room about the breakfast. She hailed a passing hansom, and in this, to the poor child, novel conveyance, she was whirled safely to Cheiron's little hotel in Jermyn Street, and Priscilla returned to her room, to make believe that her nursling was still sleeping.

"Halcyone! My child!" the Professor exclaimed, to gain time, and then he decided to help her out, so he went on: "I am glad to see you, but am very distressed at the news in the paper this morning about John Derringham—you may have seen it—and I am sure will sympathize with me."

Halcyone's piteous eyes thanked him.

"Yes, indeed," she said. "What does it mean? Ought not—we—you to go to him?"

Mr. Carlyon avoided looking at her.

"I cannot very well do that in Mrs. Cricklander's house," he said, tugging at his beard, to hide the emotion he felt. "But I will telegraph this minute and ask for news, if you will give me the forms—they are over there," and he pointed to his writing-table.

She handed them immediately, and as he adjusted his spectacles she rang the bell; no time must be lost, and the waiter could be there before the words were completed.

"When can you get the answer?" she asked a little breathlessly.

"In two hours, I should think, or perhaps three," the Professor returned. "But there is a telephone downstairs—it has just been put in. We might telephone to his rooms, or to the Foreign Office, and find out if they have heard any further news there. That would relieve my mind a little."

"Yes—do," responded Halcyone eagerly.

The tone of repressed anguish in her soft voice stabbed Cheiron's heart, but they understood each other too well for any unnecessary words to pass between them. The kindest thing he could do for her was to show her he did not mean to perceive her trouble.

The result of the telephoning—a much longer process then than it is now—was slightly more satisfactory. Sir Benjamin Grant's report, the Foreign Office official informed them, was that Mr. Derringham's condition was much more hopeful, but that the most complete quiet for some time would be absolutely necessary.

"John is so strong," Mr. Carlyon said, as he put down the receiver which he had with difficulty manipulated—to Halcyone's trembling impatience. "He will pull through. And all I can do is to wait. He will probably be up at the end of my fortnight, when I get back home." And he looked relieved.

"They would not give him a letter from you, of course, I suppose?" said Halcyone. "If his head has been hurt it will be a long time before he is allowed to read."

Cheiron nodded.

"I am interested," she went on, looking down. "You will let me know, at Grosvenor Gardens, directly you hear anything, will you not, Master?—I—" and then her voice broke a little.

And Cheiron stirred in his chair. It was all paining him horribly, but until he could be sure what would be best for her he must not show his sympathy.

"I will send Demetrius with the answer when it comes, and I will telegraph to Wendover morning and night, dear child," he said. "I knew you would feel for me." And with this, the sad little comedy between them ended, for Halcyone got up to leave.

"Thank you, Cheiron," was all she said.

Mr. Carlyon took her down to the door and put her in the waiting hansom which she had forgotten to dismiss, and he paid the man and reluctantly let her go back alone.

She was too stunned and wretched to take in anything. The streets seemed a howling pandemonium upon this June morning at the season's full height, and all the gayly dressed people just beginning to be on their way to the park for their morning stroll appeared a mockery as she passed down Piccadilly.

Whether she had been missed or no, she cared not, and getting out, rang the bell with numbed unconcern, never, even noticing the surprised face of the footman as she passed him and ran up the long flights of stairs to her room, fortunately meeting no one on the way. Here Priscilla awaited her, having successfully hidden her absence. It was half past ten o'clock.

Halcyone went to the window and looked out upon the trees in the triangular piece of green. They were not her trees, but they were still Nature, of a stunted kind, and they would understand and comfort her or, at all events, enable her to regain some calm.

She took in deep breaths, and gradually a peace fell upon her. Her friend God would never desert her, she felt.

And Priscilla said to herself:

"She's prayin' to them Immortals, I expect. Well, whoever she prays to, she is a precious saint."


Meanwhile, John Derringham lay betwixt life and death and was watched over by the kind eye of Arabella Clinker. She had gathered quite a number of facts in the night, while she had listened to his feverish ravings—he was light-headed for several hours before the nurses came—then the fever had decreased and though extremely weak he was silent.

Arabella knew now that he loved Halcyone—that wood nymph they had seen during their Easter Sunday walk—and that he had been going to meet her when the accident had happened. The rest was a jumble of incoherent phrases all giving the impression of intense desire and anxiety for some special event. It was:

"Then we shall be happy, my sweet," or "Halcyone, you will not think me a brute, then, will you, my darling," and there were more just detached words about an oak tree, and a goddess and such like vaporings.

But Arabella felt that, no doubt the moment he would be fully conscious, he would wish to send some message—for during the two following days whenever she went in to see him there was a hungering demand in his haggard eyes.

So Miss Clinker took it upon herself to stop at the Professor's house on one of her walks, meaning to beard Cheiron in his den, and find out how—should it be necessary—she could communicate with Halcyone. And then she was informed by Mrs. Porrit that her master would be away for a fortnight, and that Miss Halcyone La Sarthe had been taken off by her stepmother—she did not know where—and that the two old ladies had actually gone that day, with Hester and old William, to some place on the Welsh coast they had known when they were children, for a change to the sea! La Sarthe Chase was shut up. Arabella Clinker was not sufficiently acquainted with the habits of its inmates to appreciate the unparalleled upheaval this dislodgment meant, but she saw that her informant was highly surprised and impressed.

"I expect the poor old gentry felt too lonely to stop, once that dear Miss Halcyone was gone," Mrs. Porrit said, "but there, when I heard it you could have knocked me down with a feather!—them to go to the sea!"

All this looked hopeless as far as communicating with Halcyone went—unless through a letter to the Professor. Arabella returned to Wendover rather cast down.

She had been reasoning with herself severely over a point, and when her letter went to her mother on the next Sunday, she was still undecided as to what was her course of duty, and craved her parent's advice.

The case is this [she wrote]. Being quite aware of M. E.'s intentions, am I being disloyal to her, in helping to frustrate them by aiding Mr. Derringham to establish communications with the person whom I have already vaguely hinted to you I believe he is interested in? I do not feel it is altogether honorable to take my salary from M. E. and to go against what I know to be the strong desire of her life at the present time. On the other hand, my feelings of humanity are appealed to by Mr. Derringham's weakness, and by the very poor chance he will have of escaping M. E. when she begins her attack during his convalescence. I have felt more easy in conscience hitherto because I have merely stood aside, not aided the adversary, but now there is a parting of the ways and I am greatly disturbed. I like Mr. Derringham very much, he has always treated me with courteous consideration not invariably shown to me by M. E.'s guests; and I cannot help being sorry for him, if—which I fear is almost a certainty—she will secure him in the end.

Then the letter ended.

Arabella was much worried. However, she felt she might remain neutral so far as this, that, when Mrs. Cricklander indulged in endless speculations as to why John Derringham should have been trying to cross that difficult and dangerous haw-haw, she gave no hint that his destination could have been other than the Professor's little house. She did swerve sufficiently to the other side to remark that to cross the haw-haw would save at least a mile by the road if one were in a hurry. And then her loyalty caused her to repeat, with extra care, to John Derringham in a whisper the fib which Mrs. Cricklander wished—namely, that she, the fair Cecilia, was there ready to come to him and sit up with him, and do anything in the world for him, and was only prevented by the doctor's strict orders, fearing the slightest excitement for the patient—and that these orders caused her great grief.

John Derringham's eyes looked grateful, but he did not speak.

His head ached so terribly and his body was wracked with pain, while his ankle, not having been set for twenty-four hours, had swollen so that it rendered its proper setting a very difficult matter, and caused him unspeakable suffering. Sir Benjamin Grant had to come down to Wendover twice again before things looked in more hopeful state.

And what agonizing thoughts coursed through his poor feverish brain—until through sheer weakness there would be hours when he was numb.

What could Halcyone have thought waiting for him all that day! and now she, of course, must have heard of his accident and there was no sign or word.

Or was there—and were those cruel doctors not giving him the message? The day came—the Wednesday after Arabella had sent her letter to her mother—when he was strong enough to speak. He waited for the moment when Miss Clinker always arrived with Mrs. Cricklander's bunch of flowers and morning greeting—and then, while the nurse went from the room for a second, he whispered with dry lips:

"Will you do me a kindness?" And Arabella's brown eyes gleamed softly behind her glasses. "Let Miss Halcyone La Sarthe know how I am—she would come and meet you any day at Mr. Carlyon's—" then he stopped, disturbed by the blank look in Miss Clinker's face.

"What is it?" he gasped, and Arabella saw that pale as he had been, with his poor head all bandaged, he grew still more pale—and she realized how terribly weak he must be, and how carefully she must calculate what she could reply.

"I understand that Mr. Carlyon is in London upon a visit, and that the Misses La Sarthe have gone to the sea—" and then, as his eyes touched her with their pitiful questioning surprise, she blurted out the truth.

"Miss Halcyone La Sarthe was fetched away on last Thursday by her stepmother—I did not hear the name—and no one knows where she has gone. La Sarthe Chase is shut up."

John Derringham closed his eyes—his powers of reasoning were not strong enough yet to grasp the actual meaning of this—it seemed to him as though Halcyone were dead, taken away from him by some fate and that all things were at an end.

Arabella grew very frightened.

"Mr. Carlyon telegraphs from London every day," she ventured to announce.

But this appeared to bring no comfort, and the nurse returning, signed to her to leave the room, for John Derringham lay still as one dead.

And, when Arabella arrived at her own sanctum, she burst into tears. What a fool she had been to tell him that, she felt.

All these days, Halcyone passed in a repressed agony in spite of her prayers and unshaken beliefs. She knew it was her winter time and she must bear it until the spring should come, though it was none the less hard to support. But she got through the hours with perfect surface calm—and her stepsisters thought her stupid and dull, while Mrs. Anderton decided there was something unnatural about a girl who took not the slightest interest in shopping, and was perfectly indifferent about all the attractive garments which were put upon her back. She always expressed her thanks so gently, and was ever sweet and willing to be of use, but the look of pain remained deep in those star-like, mysterious eyes, and caused sensations of discomfort to grow in Mrs. Anderton's kindly breast.

Cheiron's laconic messages were delivered to Halcyone every day by Demetrius.

John Derringham was no worse.

He was having every care.

Sir Benjamin Grant had gone down again.

His ankle was satisfactorily set.

But never a word that he had asked for her, and yet she read in the morning papers each day, as well as knew from her Professor's information, that her lover was going on splendidly, and would soon be embarked upon a convalescence. The paper appeared to regard the accident as safely over, and the patient as returning to health.

For Mrs. Cricklander, well-skilled in the manipulating of reporters in her own country, knew exactly what impression she wished to give to the press. And she had no intention of the idea getting abroad that her injured visitor was in a very exhausted condition, because there were those she knew who would suggest that she had bagged him while he was at her mercy—when, later on, they heard the news of her engagement, which she felt was each day growing more certain of becoming a fact. And in Halcyone's brave heart not a doubt ever entered—she waited and believed and endured, in silent pain.

After Arabella's unfortunate announcement, for two or three days John Derringham was too ill to know or care what occurred, and then other and further tormenting thoughts began to trouble his weary brain.

If Halcyone had a stepmother who had come and taken her away, there were then more persons than her ancient aunts to reckon with. She could not now slip off into a secret marriage with himself with small chance of awkward questionings. That phase of the dream was over, he felt.

No letters of any sort were given him by the doctor's strict orders, and his private secretary had come down, an amiable and intelligent youth, and was dealing with the necessary official correspondence—as best he could—growing each day more infatuated with his fair hostess who felt that no pawn on the chessboard which contained John Derringham as king was worth neglecting. The Professor was not enjoying his fortnight in London, and almost tugged his silver beard out while he smoked innumerable pipes. He had come to some conclusions.

John Derringham having been unable to keep the tryst with Halcyone was plainly the working of the hand of Fate, which did not intend that his sweet girl should occupy the invidious and humiliating position of secret wife and apparent mistress to the ambitious young man. Therefore he—Arnold Carlyon—had no right to assist her again into John Derringham's arms. They must both suffer and work out their destinies however cruel that might seem.

"If John really feels she is a necessity, he will brave everything and marry her openly as soon as he is well. If he does not—then I will not assist her into a life of misery and disillusion."

He remembered a talk they had had long ago, when his old pupil had given his views about women and their place in the scheme of things. Not one must expect a man to be faithful to her, were she wife or mistress, he had said. So starting heavily handicapped in the role of his secret and unacknowledged wife, Halcyone would stand a very poor chance of happiness. Cheiron pictured things—John Derringham flattered and courted by the world and surrounded by adoring woman, while Halcyone sat at home in some quiet corner and received the scraps of his attentions that were left.

No! decidedly he would have no hand in aiding the sorry affair.

So he used his influence and even a little cunning in preventing Halcyone from writing to her lover. He was too ill yet to be troubled, and she must wait until he should send some message to her.

"You do not want Mrs. Cricklander to read your letter, child," he said, when she timidly suggested one day that it would seem kinder if she wrote to say she was concerned at the accident to her old friend.—The sad comedy was still kept up between them.—And Halcyone had stiffened. No, indeed! not that! She was woman enough in spite of the ennobling and broadening effects of her knowledge of nature, to feel the stab of jealous pain, though she had resolutely crushed from her thoughts the insinuation she had read of in the first notice of the disaster—about Mrs. Cricklander's interest in her lover. Her pride took fire. Certainly until he could receive letters and read them himself, she must wait. Cheiron would, of course, inform her when that time came. A doubt of John Derringham's loyalty to her never even cast its shadow upon her soul, nor a suspicion that he could doubt her either.

All these things were the frosts and rains of their winter, but the springtime would come and the glorious sun and flowers.

She was growing accustomed to London and the life of continual bustle, and was almost grateful for it all as it kept her from thinking.

Her stepfather and his wife mixed in a rising half-set of society where many people who were not fools came, and a number who were, but to Halcyone they all seemed a weariness. No one appeared to see anything straightly, and they seemed to be taken up with pursuits that could not divert or interest a cat. She saw quite a number of young men at dinners and was taken to the theater and suppers at the fashionable restaurants, and these entertainments she loathed. She was too desperately unhappy underneath to get even youth's exhilaration out of them, and when she had been in London for nearly three weeks and Cheiron was preparing to return to his cottage, having delayed his departure much beyond his ordinary time, she felt she could endure the martyrdom no more.

She had stilled every voice which had whispered to her that it was indeed time that she heard some word from her lover. Because there were now only occasional notices in the papers about his health, he was supposed to be getting well.

"I will implore Cheiron to let me go back with him," she decided firmly, as she went downstairs to breakfast. "I will ask if I may not go out and see him this morning," and, comforted with this thought, she entered the dining-room with a brisker step than usual. No one but her stepfather was down.

He had grown accustomed, if not quite attached, to the quiet, gentle girl, and he liked her noiseless, punctual way—they had often breakfasted alone.

He was reading his Chronicle propped up in front of him, and handed her the Morning Post from the pile by his side. He silently went on with his cutlet which an obsequious butler had placed for his consumption. Halcyone turned rapidly to the column where she was accustomed to look daily for news of her lover. And there she read that Mrs. Cricklander had been entertaining a Saturday to Monday party, and that Mr. John Derringham's recovery was now well advanced, even his broken ankle was mending rapidly and he hoped soon to be well.

A tight feeling grew round her heart, and her eyes dropped absently down the columns of the engagement announcements in which she took no interest, and then it seemed that her very soul was struck with agony as she read:

"A marriage has been arranged and will shortly take place between the Right Honorable John Derringham of Derringham in the County of Northampton, Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and Mrs. Vincent Cricklander of New York, daughter of Orlando B. Muggs of Pittsburgh, U.S.A."

And it was here that the La Sarthe breeding stood Halcyone in good stead, for she neither fainted nor dropped the paper—but, after a few seconds of acute anguish, she rose and, making some little remark about having forgotten something, quietly left the room.


It is possible that, if his revolver had been lying quite near, the morning John Derringham awoke to the remembrance that he was more or less an engaged man, he would have shot himself, so utterly wretched and debased did he feel. But no such weapon was there, and he lay in his splendid gilt bed and groaned aloud as he covered his eyes with his hand.

The light hurt him—he was giddy, and his head swam. Surely, among other things in the half-indistinct nightmare of the preceding evening, he must have had too much champagne.

From the moment, now over a week ago, that he had been allowed to sit up in bed, and more or less distinct thought had come back to him, he had been a prey to hideous anxiety and grief. Halcyone was gone from him—had been snatched away by Fate, who, with relentless vindictiveness, had filled his cup. For the first letters that he opened, marked from his lawyers so urgently that they had been given to him before the bandages were off his head, contained the gravest news of his financial position. The chief mortgagee intended to foreclose in the course of the next three months, unless an arrangement could be come to at once, which appeared impossible.

He was actually at bay. Thus, although in his first moments of consciousness, he had intended to go directly he was well and demand his love openly and chance the rest, this news made that course now quite out of the question. He could not condemn her to wretched poverty and tie a millstone round both their necks. The doctors had absolutely forbidden him to read or even know of any more letters—the official ones the secretary could deal with—but he became so restless with anxiety that Arabella Clinker was persuaded to bring them up and at least let him glance at the addresses.

There was one from Cheiron, which he insisted upon opening—a brief dry line of commiseration for his accident, with no mention of Halcyone in it. The complete ignoring of his letter to announce their marriage cut him deeply. He realized Mr. Carlyon guessed that the accident had happened before that event could take place, and his silence about it showed what he thought. John Derringham quivered with discomfort, he hated to feel the whip of his old master's contempt. And he could not explain matters or justify himself—there was nothing to be said. The Professor, of course, knew of Halcyone's whereabouts—but, after his broad hint of his want of sympathy about their relations, John Derringham felt he could not open the subject with him again. This channel for the assuagement of his anxieties was closed. The immense pile of the rest of his correspondence was at last sorted. He knew most of the writings, and the few he was doubtful about he opened—but none were from his love. So he gave them all back to Arabella, and turned his face from the light physically exhausted and with a storm of pain in his heart.

Mrs. Cricklander had carefully gone through each post as it came, and longed to destroy one or two suspicious-looking communications she saw in the same female handwriting—from his old friend Lady Durend, if she had known!—but she dared not, and indeed was not really much disturbed. She had laid her own plans with too great a nicety and felt perfectly sure of the ultimate result of their action. Arabella was each day sent up with the subtlest messages to the poor invalid, which her honor made her unwillingly repeat truthfully.

Cecilia Cricklander was an angel of sweet, watchful care, it seemed, and John Derringham really felt deeply grateful to her.

Then the moment came when she decided she would see him.

"I will go this afternoon at tea-time, Arabella, if you can assure me there won't be any horrid smell of carbolic or nasty drugs about—I know there always are when people have cuts to be dressed, and I really could not stand it. It would give me one of my bad attacks of nerves."

And Miss Clinker was reluctantly obliged to assure her employer that those days were passed, and that Mr. Derringham now only looked a pale, but very interesting invalid, as he lay there with a black silk handkerchief tied round his head.

"Then I'll go," said Mrs. Cricklander—and, instead of sending the message with her daily flowers, she wrote a tiny note.

I can't bear it any longer—I must come! CECELIA.

Arabella Clinker watched his face as he read this, and saw a flush grow in his ivory-pale skin.

"Oh! Poor Mr. Derringham!" she thought, "it isn't fair! How can he hold out against her when he is so weak—what ought I to do? If I only knew what is my loyal course!"

Arabella was perfectly aware how the reports of his rapid recovery had been circulated—and guessed the reason—and all her kind woman's heart was touched as she watched him lying there in splints, as pitiful and helpless as a baby. To pretend that he was making a quick return to health was so very far from the truth. She, herself, saw little change for the better from day to day; indeed, his large, proud eyes seemed to grow more anxious and haggard as the time went on.

Mrs. Cricklander donned her most suitably ravishing tea-gown, one of subdued simplicity—and, like a beautiful summer flower, she swept into the invalid's room when the lowered sun blinds made the light restful and the June roses filled the air with scent. It was the end of the month and glorious weather was over the land.

Nothing could have been more exquisite than Cecilia's sympathy. Indeed, she did feel a good deal moved, and was a superb actress at all times.

She only stayed a very short while, not to tire him, and John Derringham, left alone, was conscious that he had been soothed and pleased, and she departed leaving the impression that her love for him was only kept within bounds by fear for his health!

She had suffered so during all the days! she told him, she could hardly eat or sleep. And then to be debarred from nursing him!—the cruelty of it! Why the doctors should have thought her presence would be more disturbing than Arabella's, she could not think! And here she looked down, and her white hand, with its perfectly kept nails, lying upon the coverlet so near him, John Derringham lifted it in his feeble grasp and touched it with his lips. He was so grateful for her kindness—and affected by her beauty; he could not do less, he felt.

And after that, with a deliciously girlish and confused gasp, Mrs. Cricklander had hastily quitted the room.

It was not until the second day that she came again—and he had begun to wish for her.

This time she was bright and amusing, and assumed airs of authority over him, and was careful never to sit so that her hand might be in reach, while she used every one of her many arts of tantalization and enjoyed herself as only she knew how to do.

It was perfectly divine to have him there to play upon like a violin and to know it was only a question of time before she would secure him for her own!

After this, she had visitors in the house and did not come for three days, and John Derringham felt a little peevish and aggrieved. It rained, too, and his head ached still with the slightest exertion.

He now began to put all thoughts of Halcyone away from him, as far as he was able. It was too late to do anything—she must think him base, as she had never sent him one word. This caused him restless anguish. What was the meaning of it all? Could she have learned in the light of the world that it was not a very great position he had offered her, and so despised him in consequence? What aspect of it might they not have put into her head—these people she was with—this step-mother of whom he had never heard? In all cases Fate had parted them, and he must cut the pain of it from his life or it would destroy him. It never occurred to him to reflect upon the possible agony she might be suffering, his poor little wood-nymph, all alone. The fact of his own unhappiness filled his mind to the exclusion of any other thought for the time. In his dire physical weakness Cecilia Cricklander's gracious beauty seemed to augment, and Halcyone's sylph-like charm to grow of less potent force. For Love had not done all that he would yet do with John Derringham's soul.

That underneath, if he could have chosen between the two women, he would have hesitated for a second was not the case; only physical weakness, and circumstance and propinquity were working for the one and against the other—and so it would appear was Fate.

Thus, the day the visitors left, Mr. Hanbury-Green among them, the invalid was experiencing a sense of exasperating neglect. He felt extremely miserable. Life, and all he held good in it, seemed to be over for him, and his financial position was absolutely desperate—quite beyond any question of marriage it threatened to swamp his actual career. He felt impotent and beaten, lying there like a log unable to move.

Mrs. Cricklander sent him another little note in the afternoon. Arabella had reported that the patient was restless, and this might mean one of two things—either that he was becoming impatient to see her, or that he was growing restive and bored with bed. In either case it was the moment to strike—and to strike quickly.

"The doctors have said you may have a taste of champagne to-night," she wrote, which was quite untrue, but a small fib like this could not count when such large issues were at stake. "And so I propose, if you will let me and will have me for your guest, to come and dine with you to celebrate the event. Say if I may. Cecilia."

And he had eagerly scribbled in pencil, "Yes."

So she came, and was all in white with just a red rose in her dress, and she was solicitous about his comfort—had he enough pillows?—and she spoke so graciously to the nurse who arranged things before she went to her supper.

She, Cecilia, would be his nurse, she whispered—just for to-night! and then her own personal footman brought in an exquisite little dinner upon a table which he set near the bed, all noiselessly—it had been arranged outside—and she would select just the tenderest morsels for John Derringham, or some turtle soup?—He was not hungry!—Well, never mind, she would feed him!—and he must be good and let her pet him as she felt inclined.

She was looking quite extraordinarily beautiful, with all the light of triumph in her sparkling eyes, and she sat down upon the bed and actually pretended that if he were disobedient she would put pieces into his mouth!

John Derringham was a man—and, although he felt very ill and feeble, after she had made him drink some champagne, the seduction of her began to go to his head. Stimulant of any kind was the last thing he should have had, and would have caused the nurse a shock of horror if she had known. How it all came about he could not tell, what she said or he said he could never remember, only the one thing which stood out was that as the time for the nurse's return arrived, he knew that Cecilia Cricklander was kissing him with apparent passion, which he felt in some measure he was returning, and that she was murmuring: "And we shall be married, darling John, as soon as you are well."

He must have said something definite, he supposed.

But, at that moment, the nurse was heard in the next room and his fiancee—yes, his fiancee—got up and, when the woman came in in her stiff nurse's dress, slightly apologetic that she had been so long, she was greeted by this speech from the lady of the house:

"Ah, Nurse Brome, you have been so good to Mr. Derringham, you must be the first to wish us happiness and share our news. We are going to be married as soon as ever you get him well—so you must hasten that, like the clever woman you are!"

And she had laughed, a soft laugh of triumph, which even in his light-headed state had seemed to John Derringham as the mocking of some fiend.

Then she had left him quickly, while the footman carried the table from the room—and after that he remembered nothing more, he had fallen into a feverish sleep. But the next morning, when he awoke, he knew captivity had indeed tumbled upon him, and that he was chained hand and foot.

And all the day his temperature went up again, and he was not allowed to see even Arabella of the kind heart, who would have come and condoled with him, and even wept over him if she had dared, so moved did the good creature feel at his fate.

It was only upon the third day, when telegrams of congratulation began to pour in upon him by the dozen, that he knew anything about the announcement that had appeared in the Morning Post.

Yes, he was caught and chained at last, and for the next week had moods of gnashing his teeth, and feeling the most degraded of men, alternating with hours of trying to persuade himself that it was the best thing which could have happened to him.

Mrs. Cricklander, now that she had gained her end, wisely left him for a day or two in peace to the care of Arabella and the nurses, drawing the net closer each hour by her public parade of her position as his fiancee. She wrote the most exquisite and womanly letter to thank her many friends for their kind congratulations—and lamented, now that the truth being known would not matter, that John had had a slight relapse, and was not quite so well.

But, of course, she was taking every care of him, and so he soon would be his old exuberant self!

Thus the period of John Derringham's purgatory began.


Grieving is such a satisfactory and dramatic thing when you can fling yourself down upon the ground and cry aloud and tear your hair. But if some great blow must be borne without a sign, then indeed it wrings the heart and saps the forces of life.

When Halcyone got to her room, the housemaids were there beginning to make her bed—so it was no refuge for her—and she was obliged to go down again. The big drawing-rooms would be untenanted at this moment, so she turned the handle of the door and crept in there. The modern brightly gilt Louis XVI furniture glared at her, but she sank into a big chair thankful to find any support.

What was this which had fallen upon her?—The winter, indeed—or, more than that, not only the winter but the end of life, like the flash of lightning which had struck the tree in the park the night before that day which was to have seen her wedding?

And as she sat there in dumb, silent, hideous agony which crushed for the moment belief and hope, a canary from the aviary beyond set up a trilling song. She listened for a second; it seemed to hurt her more. The poor bird was in captivity, as was her soul. And then, while the little songster went on, undismayed by its cage, a reaction set in. If the soft-feathered creature could sing there beyond the bars, what right had she to doubt God for one second? No—there should never be any disbelief. It was only the winter, after all. She was too young to die like the tree which had been there for some hundreds of years, She would be as brave as the bird, and those forces of nature which she had loved and trusted so long, would comfort her.

She sat there for a quarter of an hour saying her prayers and stilling the pain in her heart—and then she got up and deliberately went back to the dining-room, where the family were all assembled now.

They chaffed about everything, and were boisterous and jovial as usual, and when she asked if she might go and see her old master, should Mrs. Anderton not wish especially for her company that morning, her stepfather offered to drive her there in his phaeton on his way to the city.

"She grows upon one, Lu," he said to his wife, when Halcyone had gone up to put on her hat. "She is like some quiet, soothing book; she is a kind of comfort—but she looks confoundedly pale to-day. Take her to the play to-night, or ask some young fellows in to dinner, to cheer her up."

The drive did Halcyone good, and, to the astonishment of Cheiron who had also read the news, she walked into his sitting-room with perfect calm. He himself was raging with indignation and disgust.

But, when he looked into her deep eyes, his astonishment turned to pain, for the expression in them as they burned from her lifeless face was so pure, so pitiful and so tragic, that it left him without words for the moment.

At last he said—when she had greeted him:

"I have been thinking, Halcyone, that I have not had a trip abroad for a long time, but I am too old now to care about going alone. Do you think that your aunts and these step-relations of yours would spare you to accompany me, my dear?"

And Halcyone had to turn away to the window to hide the tears which suddenly welled up; he was so kind and understanding always—her dear old master!

"Yes, I am sure they would," she said in a very low voice. "How good of you. And if we could start at once—that would be nice, would it not? I suppose they would not let me go without Priscilla, though," she added; "would that matter?"

"Not at all," said the Professor.

They neither of them mentioned John Derringham's engagement. They talked long about the possibilities of their foreign journey, and Cheiron felt himself repaid when he began to observe a look of returning life creep into her white face.

"I will call and see your stepfather in the city directly after lunch," he said. "If you will write to your Aunts La Sarthe, I do not think there can be any objection."

"We could take Aphrodite, could we not?" Halcyone asked. "She is very heavy, I know, but I would carry her, and I do not think I would like to leave her there in the dark away from me for all that time."

"We would certainly take her," said Cheiron.

Halcyone knew enough about London now to know where Kensington Gardens were. Whenever she went to see Mr. Carlyon, it was an understood thing he would bring her safely back, so no one would be sent to fetch her. Might they not go to Kensington Gardens this morning, she asked. She remembered to have noticed, when she had driven past with Mr. Anderton, that there seemed to be big trees there. She wanted to get into some open space, London was stifling her.

Mr. Carlyon put on his hat, and prepared to accompany her. They drove to the first gate and got out, neither having spoken a word, as was their habit when both were thinking.

They wandered in among the trees and found two chairs and sat down.

These were real trees, Halcyone felt. And, although she would have preferred to be alone to-day without even Cheiron, the great trunks and vast leafy canopy above them comforted her.

She would not permit herself to think, the beauty of the summer day must just saturate her, and soothe the cold, sick ache in her heart. And, presently, when she was strengthened, she would face it all and see what it could mean, and what would be best to do to bear the blow as a La Sarthe should, and show nothing of the anguish.

And, as she mused, her eyes absently wandered to a couple under a tree some twenty yards beyond them. There was something familiar in the girl's graceful back, and, as she turned her fresh face to look at her companion, Halcyone saw that it was Cora Lutworth.

Some magnetic spark seemed to connect them, for the pretty American girl turned completely round in her chair, and catching sight of the two jumped up and came towards them—with glad, laughing eyes and out-stretched hands.

"To see you!" she exclaimed. "That is so good! There is no Styx here, and we must have some fun together!"

She sat down upon a chair which Lord Freynault dragged up for her, and he himself took another beyond the Professor—so the two girls could talk together.

"I am going to be married—you know!" Cora announced gayly. "Freynie and I settled it at a ball last night, but we haven't told anyone yet! Isn't it lovely? We just slipped out here for a little quiet talk."

"I am so glad. I hope you will be very happy," Halcyone said, and tried not to let the contrast of Cora's joyous prospect make her wince.

"I am always happy," Cora returned, "and it's dear of you to wish me nice things."

Halcyone attracted her immensely, her quite remarkable personal distinction was full of charm, and, now in fresh and pretty modern clothes, to Cora's eyes she looked almost beautiful; but why so very pale and quiet, she wondered; and then, with a flash, she remembered the news she too had read in the paper that morning. Perhaps Halcyone minded very much. She decided rapidly what to do. If she did not mention it at all, she reasoned, this finely strung girl would know that she guessed it would be painful to her—and that might hurt her pride. It was kinder to plunge in and get it over.

"Isn't it wonderful about Mr. Derringham and Cecilia Cricklander?" she said, pretending to be busy untangling her parasol tassel. "She always intended to marry him—and she is so rich I expect he felt that would be a good thing. Freynie says he is very much harder up then anyone knows."

Her kind, common sense told her that a man's doing even a low thing for expediency would hurt a woman who loved him, less than that the motive for his action should have been one of inclination.

Halcyone came up to the scratch, although a fierce pain tightened her heart afresh.

"Yes," she said, "I suppose no one was surprised to read of the engagement in the papers to-day. I can imagine that a man requires a great deal of money to support the position in the government which Mr. Derringham has, and no doubt Mrs. Cricklander is glad to give it to him—he is so clever and great." And not a muscle of her face quivered as she spoke.

"If it does hurt—my goodness! she is game!" Cora thought, and aloud she went on, "Cecilia isn't a bad sort—a shocking snob, as all of us are who are not the real thing and want to be—like your own common pushers over here. We used to laugh at her awfully when she first came from Pittsburgh and tried to cut in before she married my cousin. Poor old Vin! He was crazy about her." Then she went on reflectively, as Halcyone did not answer. "We often think you English people are so odd—the way you can't distinguish between us! You receive, with open arms, the most impossible people if they are rich, that we at home would not touch with a barge pole, and you say: 'Oh, they are just American,' as if we were all the same! And then we are so awfully clever as a nation that in a year or two these dreadful vulgarians, as we would call them in New York, have picked up all your outside polish, and pass as our best! It makes lots of the really nice old gentle-folk at home perfectly mad—but I can't help admiring the spirit. That is why I have stuck to Cis, though the rest of the family have given her the cold shoulder. It is such magnificent audacity—don't you think so?"

"Yes, indeed," agreed Halcyone. "All people have a right to obtain what they aspire to if they fit themselves for it."

"That is one of Mr. Derringham's pet theories," Cora laughed. "He held forth one night, when I was staying at Wendover at Easter, about it—and it was such fun. Cis did not really understand a single thing of the classical allusions he was making—but she got through. I watch her with delight. Men are sweetly simple bats, though, aren't they? Any woman can take them in—" and Cora laughed again joyously. "I have sat sometimes in fits to hear Cis keeping a whole group of your best politicians enthralled, and not one seeing she is just repeating parrot sentences. You have only to be rich and beautiful and look into a man's eyes and flatter him, and you can make him believe you are what you please. Now Freynie thinks I am absolutely perfect when I am really being a horrid little capricious minx—don't you, Freynie, dear!" and she leaned over and looked at her betrothed with sweet and tender eyes—and Lord Freynault got up and moved his chair round, so that the four were in a circle.

"What preposterous thing is Cora telling you?" he laughed, with an adoring glance at her sparkling face. "But I am getting jealous, and shall take her away because I want to talk to her all to myself!"

And, when they had settled that the two girls should meet at tea the following day in Cora's sitting-room at Claridge's, where she was staying with a friend, the newly engaged pair went off together beaming with joy and affection.

And Halcyone gazed after them with a wistful look in her sad eyes, which stabbed the old Professor's heart.

She was remembering the morning under their tree, when she and her lover had sat and made their plans, and he had asked her if she had any fear at the thought of giving him her future.

It was only three weeks ago. Surely everything was a dream. How much he had seemed to love her. And then unconsciously she started to her feet, and strode away among the trees, forgetful of her companion—and Cheiron sat and watched her, knowing she would come back and it was better to let her overcome alone the agony which was convulsing her.

Yes, John Derringham had seemed to love her—not seemed—no—it was real—he had loved her. And she would never believe but that he loved her still. This was only a wicked turn of those bad forces which she knew were abroad in the world. Had she not seen evil once in a man's face crouching in the bracken, as he set a trap for some poor hare one dark and starry night? And she had passed on, and then, when she thought he would be gone, she had returned and loosened the spring before it could do any harm. That poacher had evil forces round him. They were there always for the unwary, and had fastened upon John. She would never doubt his love, and she herself could never change, and she would pour upon him all her tender thoughts, and call to the night winds to help her to do her duty.

So presently she remembered Cheiron, and turned round to see him far away still, sitting quietly beneath a giant elm stroking his long, silver beard.

"My dear, kind master!" she exclaimed to herself, and went rapidly back to him.

"That is a charming girl—your young friend," he said to her, as he got up to stroll to the gate; "full of life and common sense. There is something wonderful in the vitality of her nation. They jar dreadfully upon us old tired peoples in their worst aspects—but in their best we must recognize a new spring of life and youth for the world. Yonder young woman is not troubling about a soul, if she has one; she is a fountain of living water. She has not taken on the shadows of our crowded past. Halcyone, my dear, you and I are the inheritance of too much culture. When I see her I want to cry with Epicurus: 'Above all, steer clear of Culture!'" And then he branched from this subject and plunged into a learned dissertation upon the worship of Dionysus, and how it had cropped up again and again with wild fervor among the ancient worlds whose senses and brains were wearied with the state religions, and he concluded by analogy that this wild longing to return to youth's follies and mad ecstasies, to get free from restraints, to seek communion with the spiritual beyond in some exaltation of the emotions—in short, to get back to nature—was an instinct in all human beings and all nations, when their zeniths of art and cultivation had come.

And Halcyone, who had heard it all before and knew the subject to her finger tips, wandered dreamily into a shadowland where she felt she was of these people—those far back worshipers—and this was her winter when Dionysus was dead, but would live again when the spring came and the flowers.


Mrs. Cricklander felt it would be discreet and in perfect taste if she announced her intention of going off to Carlsbad the week after her engagement was settled—she was always most careful of decorum. And, if the world of her friends thought John Derringham was well enough to be making love to her in the seclusion of her own house, it would be much wiser for her to show that she should always remain beyond the breath of any gossip.

In her heart she was bored to tears. For nearly the whole of June she had been cooped up at Wendover—for more than half the time without even parties of visitors to keep her company—and she loathed being alone. She had no personal resources and invariably at such times smoked too much and got agitated nerves in consequence.

John Derringham—strong and handsome, with his prestige and his brilliant faculties—was a conquest worth parading chained to her chariot wheels. But John Derringham, feeble, unable to walk, his ankle in splints and plaster of Paris, and still suffering from headaches whenever the light was strong, was simply a weariness to her—nothing more nor less.

So that, until he should be restored to his usual captivating vigor, it was much better for her pleasure to leave him to his complete recovery alone, now that she had got him securely in her keeping.

Arabella could ask her mother down and keep house and see that he had everything in the world that he wanted—and there were the devoted nurses. And, in short, her doctor had said she must have her usual cure, and that was the end of the matter!

She had only made him the most fleeting visits during the week. He had really been ill after the fever caused by the champagne. And she had been exquisitely gentle and not too demonstrative. She had calculated the possibility of his backing out under the plea of his health, so she determined not to give him a chance to have the slightest excuse by overtiring him.

No one could have better played the part of devoted, understanding friend who by excess of love had been betrayed into one lapse of passionate outburst, and now wished only to soothe and comfort.

"She is a good sort," John Derringham thought, after her first visit. "She will let me down easy in any case," and the ceasing of his anxiety about his financial position comforted him greatly.

The next time she came and sat by his bed, a vision of fresh summer laces and chiffons, he determined to make the position clear to her.

She always bent and kissed him with airy grace, then sat down at a discreet distance. She felt he was not overanxious to caress her, and preferred that the rendering of this impossible should come from her side. Indeed, unless kisses were necessary to gain an end, she did not care for them herself—stupid, contemptible things, she thought them!

John Derringham would have touched the hearts of most women as he lay there, but Cecilia Cricklander had not this tiresome appendage, only the business brain and unemotional sensibilities of her grandfather the pork butcher. She did realize that her fiance, even there with the black silk handkerchief wound round his head and his face and hands deadly pale and fragile-looking, was still a most arrogant and distinguished-looking creature, and that his eyes, with their pathetic shadows dimming the proud glance in them, were wonderfully attractive. But she was not touched especially by his weakness. She disliked suffering and never wanted to be made aware of it.

John Derringham went straight into the subject which was uppermost in his thoughts. He asked her to listen to him patiently, and stated his exact financial situation. She must then judge if she found it worth while to marry him; he would not deceive her about one fraction of it.

She laughed lightly when he had ended—and there was something which galled him in her mirth.

"It is all a ridiculous nothing," she said. "Why, I can pay off the whole thing with only the surplus I invest every year from my income! Your property is quite good security—if I want any. We shall probably have to do it in a business-like way; your house will be mine, of course, but I will make you very comfortable as my guest!" and she smiled with suitable playfulness. "Let the lawyers talk over these things, not you and me—you may be sure mine will look after me!"

John Derringham felt the blood tingling in his ears. There was nothing to take exception to in what she had said, but it hurt him awfully.

"Very well," he answered wearily, and closed his eyes for a moment. "If you are satisfied, that is all that need be said. As things go on, and I reach where I mean to get, I dare say to spend money to do the thing beautifully will please you as much as it will gratify me. I will give you what I can of the honors and glories—so shall we consider our bargain equal?"

This was not lover-like, and Mrs. Cricklander knew it, but it was better to have got it all over. She was well aware that the "honors and glories" would compensate her for the outlay of her dollars, but her red mouth shut with a snap as she registered a thought.

"When I come back it may amuse me to make him really in love with me." Then, watching carefully, she saw that some cloud of jar and disillusion had settled upon her fiance's face. So with her masterly skill she tried to banish it, talking intelligently upon the political situation and his prospects. It looked certain that the Government would not last beyond the session—and then what would happen?

Mr. Hanbury-Green had given her a very clear forecast of what the other side meant to do, but this she did not impart to John Derringham.

She made one really stupid mistake as she got up to leave the room.

"If you want a few thousands now, John," she said, as she bent to lightly salute his cheek, "do let me know and I will send them to your bank. They may be useful for the wedding."

A dull flush mounted to the roots of his hair, and then left him very pale.

He took her hand and kissed it with icy homage.

"Thank you, no—" he said. "You are far too good. I will not take anything from you until the bargain is completed."

Then their eyes met and in his there was a flash of steel.

And when she had gone from the room he lay and quivered, a sense of hideous humiliation flooding his being.

The following day she came in the morning. She looked girlish in her short tennis frock and was rippling with smiles. She sat on the bed and kissed him—and then slipped her hand into his.

"John, darling," she said sweetly. "People will begin to talk if I stay here at Wendover now that you are getting better—and you would hate that as much as I—so I have settled to go to Carlsbad with Lady Maulevrier—just for three weeks. By that time my splendid John will be himself again and we can settle about our wedding—" then she bent and kissed him once more before he could speak. "Arabella is going to get her mother to come down," she went on, "and you will be safe here with these devoted old ladies and your Brome who is plainly in love with you, poor thing!" and she laughed gayly. "Say you think it is best, too, John, dearest?"

"Whatever you wish," he answered with some sudden quick sense of relief. "I know I am an awful bore lying here, and I shall not be able to crawl to a sofa even for another week, these doctors say."

"You are not a bore—you are a darling," she murmured, patting his hand. "And if only I were allowed to stay with you—night and day—and nurse you like Brome, I should be perfectly happy. But these snatched scraps—John, darling, I can't bear it!"

He wondered if she were lying. He half thought so, but she looked so beautiful, it enabled him to return her caresses with some tepid warmth.

"It is too sweet of you, Cecilia," he said, as he kissed her. He had not yet used one word of intimate endearment—she had never been his darling, his sweet and his own, like Halcyone.

After she had gone again, all details having been settled for her departure upon the Monday, he almost felt that he hated her. For, when she was in this apparently loving mood, it seemed as if her bonds tightened round his throat and strangled him to death. "Octopus arms" he remembered Cheiron had called them.

When Mrs. Cricklander got back to her own favorite long seat out on the terrace, she sat down, and settling the pillows under her head, she let her thoughts ticket her advantages gained, in her usual concrete fashion.

"He is absolutely mine, body and soul. He does not love me—we shall have the jolliest time seeing who will win presently—but I have got the dollars, so there is no doubt of the result—and what fun it will be! It does not matter what I do now, he cannot break away from me. He has let me see plainly that my money has influenced him—and, although Englishmen are fools, in his class they are ridiculously honorable. I've got him!" and she laughed aloud. "It is all safe, he will not break the bargain!"

So she wrote an interesting note to Mr. Hanbury-Green with a pencil on one of the blocks which she kept lying about for any sudden use—and then strolled into the house for an envelope.

And, as John Derringham lay in the darkened room upstairs, he presently heard her joyous voice as she played tennis with his secretary, and the reflection he made was:

"Good Lord, how thankful I should be that at least I do not love her!"

Then he clenched his hands, and his aching thoughts escaped the iron control under which since his engagement he had tried always to keep them, and they went back to Halcyone. He saw again with agonizing clearness her little tender face, when her soft, true eyes had melted into his as she whispered of love.

"This is what God means in everything." Well, God had very little to do with himself and Cecilia Cricklander!

And then he suddenly seemed to see the brutishness of men. Here was he—a refined, honorable gentleman—in a few weeks going to play false to his every instinct, and take this woman whom he was growing to despise—and perhaps dislike—into his arms and into his life, in that most intimate relationship which, he realized now, should only be undertaken when passionate calls of tenderest love imperatively forced it. She would have the right to be with him day—and night. She might be the mother of his children—and he would have to watch her instincts, which he surely would have daily grown to loathe, coming out in them. And all because money had failed him in his own resources and was necessary to his ambitions, and this necessity, working with an appeal to his senses when fired with wine, had brought about the situation.

God Almighty! How low he felt!

And he groaned aloud.

Then from a small dispatch box, which he had got his servant to put by his bed, he drew forth a little gold case, in which for all these years he had kept an oak leaf. He had had it made in the enthusiasm of his youth when he had returned to London after Halcyone, the wise-eyed child, had given it to him, and it had gone about everywhere with him since as a sort of fetish.

It burnt his sight when he looked at it now. For had he been "good and true"? Alas! No—nothing but a sensual, ambitious weakling.


The Professor and his protegee spent the whole of that July wandering in Brittany—going from one old-world spot to another. There had not been much opposition raised by Mr. and Mrs. Anderton to Halcyone's accompanying her old master. They themselves were going to Scotland, and there Mabel had decided she would no longer be kept in the schoolroom, and intended to come forward as a grown-up girl assisting in the hospitalities of her father's shooting lodge. And Mrs. Anderton, knowing her temper, thought a rival of any sort might make difficulties. So, as far as they were concerned, Halcyone might start at once. They always left for the north in the middle of the month, and if the Professor wanted to get away sooner, they did not wish to interfere with his arrangements. Halcyone must come and pay them another visit later on.

As for the Aunts La Sarthe—their heads appeared to be completely turned by their sojourn at the seaside! They proposed to remain there all the summer, and put forward no objection to their niece's excursion with Mr. Carlyon. The once quiet spot of their youth had developed into a fashionable Welsh watering place, and Miss Roberta was taking on a new lease of health and activity from the pleasure of seeing the crowded parade, while the Aunt Ginevra allowed that the exhilarating breezes and cerulean waters were certainly most refreshing!

Before the Professor could leave for a lengthy trip abroad, it was necessary that he should return to the orchard house for a day, and Halcyone accompanied him, leaving Priscilla in London. Her mission was to secure the goddess's head—but, as there was no one at La Sarthe Chase, she decided just to go there and get her treasure and sleep the night at Cheiron's.

It would be an excursion of much pain to her, to be so near to her still loved lover and to feel the cruel gulf between them, but she must face it if she desired Aphrodite to accompany them. The Professor suggested she might take him through the secret passage and try with his help to open the heavy box. No such opportunity had ever occurred before or was likely to occur again, her aunts being absent and even old William nowhere about. It made the chance one in a thousand. So she agreed, and determined to force herself to endure the pain which going back would cause her.

She was perfectly silent all the way from London to Upminster—and Mr. Carlyon watched her furtively. He knew very well what was passing in her mind, and admired the will which suppressed the expression of it. She grew very pale indeed in the station-fly when they passed the gates of Wendover. It was about half past three in the afternoon—and the Professor had promised to come to the archway opening of the secret passage at five.

So Halcyone left him and took her way down the garden and through the little gate into the park. It seemed like revisiting some scene in a former life, so deep was the chasm which separated the last time she walked that way from this day. She passed the oak tree without stopping. She would not give way to any weakness or the grief which threatened to overwhelm her. She kept her mind steadily fixed upon the object she had in view, with a power of concentration which only those who live in solitude can ever attain to.

Aphrodite was there still in the bag lying on top of the heavy iron-bound box in the secret passage, and she carried her out into the sunlight and once more took the wrappings from the perfect face.

"You are coming with us, sweet friend," she whispered, and gazed long into the goddess's eyes. What she saw there gave her comfort.

"Yes, I know," she went on gently. "I did say that, whatever came, I would understand that it was life—And I do—and I know this evil pain is only for the time—and so I will not admit its power. I will wait and some day joy will return to me, like the swallow from the south. Mother, I will grieve not."

And all the softest summer zephyrs seemed to caress her in answer, and there she sat silent and absorbed, looking out to the blue hills for more than an hour.

Then she saw Cheiron advancing up the beech avenue, and covering up Aphrodite she went to meet him.

They came back to the second terrace and started upon their quest.

Mr. Carlyon had the greatest difficulty in keeping his old head bent to get through the very low part of the dark arched place, and he held Halcyone's hand. But at last they emerged into the one light spot and there saw the breastplate and the box. But at first it seemed as if they could not lift it; it had fallen with the lock downward. Cheiron, although a most robust old man, had passed his seventieth year, and the thing was of extreme heaviness. But at last they pushed and pulled and got it upright, and finally, with tremendous exertions with a chisel Mr. Carlyon had brought, managed to break open the ancient lock.

It gave with a sudden snap, and in breathless excitement they raised the lid.

Inside was another case of wood. This also was locked, but at its side lay an old key. The Professor, as well as his chisel, had prudently brought a small bottle of oil, and eventually was able to make the key turn in the lock, and they found that the box was in two compartments, one entirely filled with gold pieces, and the other containing some smaller heavy object enwound with silk.

They lifted it out and carried it to the light, and then with great excitement they unrolled the coverings. It proved to be a gold-and-jeweled crucifix and beneath it lay a parchment with a seal.

Leaving the pieces of gold in the box, they carried the crucifix and the parchment out on to the terrace, and then the Professor adjusted his strongest spectacles and prepared to read what he could, while Halcyone examined the beautiful thing.

The writing was still fairly dark and the words were in Latin. It stated, so the Professor read, that the money and the crucifix were the property of Timothy La Sarthe, Gentleman to Queen Henrietta Maria, and that, should aught befall him in his flight to France upon secret business for Her Majesty, the gold and the crucifix belonged to whichever of his descendants should find it—or it should be handed to; that all others were cursed who should touch it, and that it would bring the owner fortune, as it was the work of one Benvenuto Cellini, an artist of great renown in Florence before his day, and therefore of great value. The quaintly phrased deed added that if it were taken to one Reuben Zana, a Jew in the Jewry at the sign of the Golden Horn, he would dispose of it for a large sum to the French king. The crucifix had been brought from Florence in the dower of his wife Donna Vittoria Tornabuoni, now dead. If his son Timothy should secure it, he was advised not to keep it, as its possession brought trouble to the family.

"Then it is legally ours and not treasure-trove," said Halcyone. "Oh, how good! It will make the Aunts La Sarthe quite rich perhaps, and look how beautiful it is, the jeweled thing."

They examined it minutely. It was a masterpiece of that great craftsman and artist and of untold value. Cheiron silently thrilled with the delight of it—but Halcyone spoke.

"I am glad Ancestor Timothy suggested selling it," she said. "I would never keep a crucifix, the emblem of sorrow and pain. For me, Christ is always glorified and happy in heaven. Now what must we do, Master? Must we at once tell the aunts? But I will not consent to anyone knowing of this staircase. That would destroy something which I could never recover. We must pretend we have found it in the long gallery; there is a recess in the paneling which no one knows of but I, and there we can put it and find it again. It will be quite safe. Shall we leave it there, Cheiron, until we come back from abroad? How much do you think it is worth?"

"Anything up to fifty thousand pounds perhaps to a collector," the Professor said, "since it is an original and unique. Look at the splendid rubies and emeralds and these two big diamonds at the top, and there is so little of Benvenuto's work left that is authentic."

"That is an unusual sum of money, is it not?" Halcyone asked. "That would surely give them anything they want for their lives; perhaps we ought not to keep them waiting."

And so after much talk it was arranged that Halcyone should make several journeys, taking the gold to the long gallery and then the crucifix; and then the box could be lifted and repacked again there. And, when she had it all stowed away carefully in the recess of the paneling, she and Cheiron should go openly to the back door and let the caretaker know they had arrived, and go into the house—and there ostensibly find the treasure. Then they would write to the Misses La Sarthe about their discovery, and take the box to Applewood and deposit it in the bank until their return.

All this took a long time but was duly carried out, and about eight o'clock Halcyone and the Professor were able to go back, carrying the crucifix with them, to keep it safe for the night and then to put it back with the gold and the parchment, before they took the box to the bank on the morrow.

"It may be worth more still and there is a good deal of gold," the Professor said, "and their coins would be worth more now. You will be quite a little heiress some day, dear child."

"I do not care the least about money, Cheiron," she said, "but I shall be so glad for the aunts."

And when eventually the old ladies received the news of their fortune there was much rejoicing, and by following Cheiron's advice they were not defrauded and might look forward to a most comfortable end to their lives. Miss Roberta even dreamed of a villa at the seaside and a visit to London Town!

But meanwhile the Professor and Halcyone went back to London and on the Saturday left for Dieppe.

London, perhaps from her numbed state of misery, had said nothing to Halcyone. It remained in her memory as a nightmare, the scene of the confirmation of her winter of the soul. Its inhabitants were ghosts, the young men—jolly, hearty, young fellows from the Stock Exchange, and rising Radical politicians whom she had met—went from her record of things as so many shadows.

The vast buildings seemed as prisons, the rush and flurry as worrying storms, and even the parks as only feeble reminders of her dear La Sarthe Chase.

Nothing had made the least real impression upon her except Kensington Gardens, and they to the end of her life would probably be only a reminder of pain.

But her first view of the sea!

That was something revivifying!

Her memory of the one occasion when she had gone to Lowestoft with her mother was too dim to be anything of a reality, and, when they got to Newhaven, the Professor and Priscilla and she, with a brisk summer wind blowing the green-blue water into crested wavelets, the first cry of life and joy escaped her and gladdened Cheiron's heart.

How wonderful the voyage was! She took in every smallest change in the tones of the sky—she watched the waves from the forepart of the bridge, and some new essence of life and the certainty that her night forces would never desert her made themselves felt and cheered her.

Of John Derringham she thought constantly. He was not buried in that outer circle of oblivion from which the thoughts unconsciously shy—as we bury our dead, their going so shrouded in pain that we long to blot out the memory of them. John Derringham was always with her. She prayed for his welfare with the fervor and purity of her sweet soul. He was her spirit lover still. He could never really belong to any other woman, she knew. And as the days went by a fresh beauty grew in her pale face. The night sky itself seemed to be melted in her true eyes with the essence of all its stars.

Cheiron often wondered at her. There was never a word or allusion to the past. She was extremely quiet, and sometimes the droop of her graceful head and the sad curves of her tender lips would make the kind old cynic's heart ache. But she was always cheerful, taking unfeigned interest in the country and the people, delighting in the simple faith of the peasants and the glory of some of the old cathedrals.

And Aphrodite traveled everywhere with them. A special case had been made for her—and Halcyone often took her out to keep them company in the late evenings or when a rare rain storm kept them indoors.

Mr. Carlyon had not written to John Derringham since his engagement had been announced. He wished all connection with his former pupil to be broken off. He had no mercy for his action, he could not even use his customary lenient common sense towards the failings of mankind.

John Derringham had made his peerless one suffer—and his name was anathema. As far as Cheiron was concerned he was wiped off the list of beings who count.

Halcyone's delicate sense of obligation had been put at ease by her stepfather. He had made over to her a few hundreds a year which he said had belonged to her mother—the simple creature was too ignorant of all business to be aware whether this was or was not the case. She had grown to have a certain liking for James Anderton. There was a hard, level-headed, shrewd honesty about him, keen to drive a bargain—even the one about her mother to which Priscilla had alluded and to which they had never made any further reference—but, when once he had gained his point, he was generous and kind-hearted.

He could not help it that he was not a gentleman, Halcyone thought, and he did his best for everybody according to his lights.

Her few hundreds a year seemed untold wealth to her who had never had even a few sixpences for pocket money! But there was always some instinctive dislike for the thing itself. It remained to her a rather unpleasant medium for securing the necessities of life, though she was glad she now possessed enough not to be a burden upon her aunts, and could hand what was necessary for her trip over to the Professor.

They wanted to get into Italy as soon as it should be cool enough. August saw them in an out-of-the-way village in Switzerland.

And the mountains caused Halcyone a yet deeper emotion than the sea had done. Nature here talked to her in a voice of supreme grandeur, and bade her never to be cast down but to go on bearing her winter with heroic calm.

She often stayed out the entire night and watched the stars fade and the dawn come—Phoebus with his sun chariot! Somehow Switzerland, although it was not at all the actual background, seemed to bring to her the atmosphere of her "Heroes." The lower hill near their village could certainly be Pelion, and one day she felt she had discovered Cheiron's cave. This was a joy—and that night, when it rained and she and the Professor sat before their wood fire in the little inn parlor, with Aphrodite lying near them in her silken folds, she coaxed her old master into telling her those moving tales of old.

"You are indeed Cheiron, Master," she said—and then her eyes widened and she looked into the glowing ashes. "And you have one pupil, who, like Heracles in his fight with the Centaurs, has accidentally wounded you. But I want you not to let the poison of the arrow grow in your blood; the wound is not incurable as his was. Master, why do you never speak to me now of Mr. Derringham?"

Cheiron frowned. One of his eyebrows had grown in later years at least an inch long and seemed to bristle ready for battle when he was angry.

"I think he has behaved as no gentleman should," he growled, "and I would rather not mention him."

"You know of things perhaps with which I am not acquainted," said Halcyone, "but from my point of view, there is nothing to judge him for. Whatever he may have done in becoming engaged to marry this lady—because she is rich—we do not know the forces that were compelling him. It hurts me, Cheiron, that you take so stern a view—it hurts me, Master."

Mr. Carlyon put out his hand and stroked her soft hair as she sat there on a low stool looking up at him.

"Oh, my dear," he said, and could articulate no more because a lump grew in his throat.

"Everything is so simple when we know of it," she went on, "but everyone has not had the fortune to learn nature and the forces which we must encourage or guard against. And Mr. Derringham, who had to mix with the world, ran many dangers which could not come to you and me at La Sarthe Chase. Ah, Cheiron! Even you do not know of the ugly things which creep away out of sight in the night—my night that I love! And they could sting one if one did not know where to put one's feet. And so it must be with him—he did not always see where just to put his feet, so we must not judge him, must we?" she pleaded.

"Not if you do not wish," Mr. Carlyon blurted out. And then he began to puff wreaths of smoke from his long old pipe.

"Indeed, I do not wish, Cheiron," she said. "Perhaps he is very unhappy now—we do not know—so we should only send him good thoughts to cheer him. I dream of him often," she went on in a far-off voice, as though she had almost forgotten the Professor's presence, "and he cries to me in pain. And I could not bear it that you should be thinking badly of him, and so I had to speak because thoughts can help or injure people—and now he wants all the gentle currents we can send him to take him through this time."

The Professor coughed violently; his spectacles had grown dim.

Then Halcyone rubbed her soft cheek against his old withered hand.

"You knew it, of course, Master," she said very softly. "I loved him always and I love him still—and, if I have forgiven any hurt which he brought me, surely it need not stand against him with you. To-night—oh, he is suffering so! I cannot bear that there should be one shadow going to him that I can take away. Cheiron, promise me you won't think hardly ever any more—promise me, Cheiron, dear!"

The Professor's voice was almost the growl of a bear—but Halcyone knew he meant to acquiesce.

"Cheiron," she whispered, while she caressed his stiff fingers, "the winter of our souls is almost past. I feel and know the spring is near at hand."

"I hope to God it is," Mr. Carlyon said, very low.

Next day they moved on into Italy, crossing the frontier and stopping the night at Turin where they proposed to hire a motor. From thence they intended to get down to Genoa to continue their pilgrimage. It was not such an easy matter, in those few years ago, as it is now to hire a motor, but one was promised to them at last—and off they started. Halcyone took the greatest interest in everything in that quaint and grand old town. Her keen judgment and that faculty she possessed of always seeing everything from the simplest standpoint of truth made her an ideal companion to wander with on this journey of cultured ease.

"How strong a place this seems, Cheiron," she said, after two days of their sight-seeing. "All the spirits at the zenith of Genoa's greatness were strong—nothing weak or ascetic. They must have been filled with gratitude to God for giving them this beautiful life, those old patrons of decoration. There is nothing cheap or hurried; it is all an appreciation of the magnificence due to their noble station and their pride of race. For the Guelphist of them seems to have been an aristocrat and an autocrat in his personal menage. Is it not so, Master?"

"I dare say," agreed Cheiron. He was watching with deep interest for her verdict upon things.

"It gives me the impression of solid riches," she went on, "the encouragement of looms of costly stuffs, the encouragement for workers in marble, in bronze, in frescoes, all the material gorgeous, tangible pleasures of sight and touch. It is not poetic; it inspires admiration for great deeds, victorious navies, triumphs—banquets—I have no sense of music here except the music of feasting. I have no sense of poetry except of odes to famous admirals or party leaders, and yet it is a great joy in its way and a noble monument to the proud manhood of the past." And she looked down from the balcony of the Palazzo Reale, where they were standing, into the town below.

Her thoughts had gone as ever to the man she loved. He had this haughty spirit—he could have lived in those days—and she saw him a Doria, a Brignole-Sale or a Pallavicini, gorgeous, masterful and magnificent. England in the present day was surely a supplice for such an arrogant spirit as that of John Derringham.

The prosperous mercantile part of Genoa said nothing to her—she wanted always to wander where she could weave romances into the things round. She had never seen any fine pictures before. The Anderton family were not lovers of art and, while in London, Halcyone had been too unhappy to care or even ask to be taken to galleries—and Cheiron had not suggested doing so; he was a good deal occupied himself. But now it was a great pleasure to him to watch and see what impression they would make upon a perfectly fresh eye. The immense cultivation of her mind would guide her taste probably—but it would be an interesting experiment.

She stopped instantly in front of a Van Dyck, but she did not speak. In fact she made no observations at all about the pictures until they were back in their hotel. It was still very hot, although September had come, and they had their dinner upon an open terrace.

And then her thoughts came out.

"I like the Guido Renis, Cheiron," she said; "his Magdalen in the Reale Palazzo is exquisite—she is pure and good. But I do not like the saints and martyrs in the throes of their agony, they say nothing to me, I have no sympathy for them. I adore the Madonna and the Child; they touch me—here," and she laid her hand upon her heart. "The Sassoferarto Virgin in the Reale Palazzo is like Miss Lutworth, she is full of kindness and youth. The early masters' works, which are badly drawn and beautifully colored, I have to take apart—and it is unsatisfying. Because, while I am trying not to see the wrong shape, I have only half my faculties to appreciate the exquisite colors, and so a third influence has to come in—the meaning of the artist who painted them and perhaps put into them his soul. But that is altruistic—I could as well admire something of very bad art for the same reason. For me a picture should satisfy each of these points of view to be perfect and lift me into heights. That is why perhaps I shall prefer sculpture on the whole, when I shall have seen it, to painting."

And Mr. Carlyon felt that, learned in art and old as he was, Halcyone might give him a new point of view.

Next day they left for Pisa.


When Arabella Clinker and her mother were settled together at Wendover, a strange peace seemed to fall upon the place. John Derringham was conscious of it upstairs as he lay in his Louis XV bed. By the time he was allowed to be carried to a sofa in the sitting-room which had been arranged for him, July had well set in.

He had parted from his Cecilia with suitable things said upon either side. Even in his misery and abasement, John Derringham was too assured a spirit and too much a man of the world to have any hesitation or awkwardness. Mrs. Cricklander had been all that was sympathetic. She looked superbly full of vigor and the joy of life as she came to say farewell.

"John, darling," she purred, "you will do everything you are told to by the doctors while I am away, won't you?" and she caressed his forehead with her soft hand. "So that I may not have to worry as dreadfully as I have been doing, when I come back. It has made me quite ill—that is why I must go to Carlsbad. You will be good now; so that I may find you as strong and handsome as ever on my return." Then she bent and kissed him.

He promised faithfully, and she never saw the whimsical gleam in his eyes, because for the moment having gained her end her faculties had resumed their normal condition, which was not one of superlative sensitiveness. Like everything else in her utilitarian equipment, fine perceptions were only assumed when the magnitude of the goal in view demanded their presence. And even then they merely went as far as sentinels to warn or encourage her in the progress of her aims, never wasting themselves upon irrelevant objects.

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