Patricia seemed very young. You saw that she had suffered. You knew it was not fair to hurt a child like that.
But, indeed, Rudolph Musgrave hardly realized as yet that Patricia was dead. For Colonel Musgrave was thinking of that time when this same Patricia had first come to him, fire-new from the heart of an ancient sunset, and he had noted, for the first time, that her hair was like the reflection of a sunset in rippling waters, and that her mouth was an inconsiderable trifle, a scrap of sanguine curves, and that her eyes were purple glimpses of infinity.
“This same Patricia!” he said, aloud.
PART NINE — RELICS
“You have chosen the love ’that
lives sans murmurings,
Sans passion,’ and incuriously endures
The gradual lapse of time. You have chosen as yours
A level life of little happenings;
And through the long autumnal evenings
Lord Love, no doubt, is of the company,
And hugs your ingleside contentedly,
Smiles at old griefs, and rustles needless wings.
“And yet I think that sometimes
Of divers trysts, of blood that urged like wine
On moonlit nights, and of that first long kiss
Whereby your lips were first made one with mine,
Awake and trouble you, and loving is
Once more important and perhaps divine.”
ALLEN ROSSITER. Two in October.
To those who knew John Charteris only through the medium of the printed page it must have appeared that the novelist was stayed in mid-career by an accident of unrelieved and singular brutality. And truly, thus extinguished by the unfounded jealousy of a madman, the force of Charteris’s genius seemed, and seems to-day, as emphasized by that sinister caprice of chance which annihilated it.
But people in Lichfield, after the manner of each prophet’s countrymen, had their own point of view. The artist always stood between these people and the artist’s handiwork, in part obscuring it.
In any event, it was generally agreed in Lichfield that Anne Charteris’s conduct after her husband’s death was not all which could be desired. To begin with, she attended the funeral, in black, it was true, but wearing only the lightest of net veils pinned under her chin—“more as if she were going somewhere on the train, you know, than as if she were in genuine bereavement.”
“Jack didn’t approve of mourning. He said it was a heathen survival.” That was the only explanation she offered.
It seemed inadequate to Lichfield. It was preferable, as good taste went, for a widow to be too overcome to attend her husband’s funeral at all. And Mrs. Charteris had not wept once during the church ceremony, and had not even had hysterics during the interment at Cedarwood; and she had capped a scandalous morning’s work by remaining with the undertaker and the bricklayers to supervise the closing of John Charteris’s grave.