I was less impressed by this declaration than probably would have been any other member of the Order. I had seen on Earth the most marvellous perceptions of a perfectly lucid vision succeeded, sometimes within the space of the same day, by dreams or hallucinations the most absolutely deceptive. I felt, therefore, more satisfaction in the acquittal of Eunane, whom I had never doubted, than trouble at the grave suspicion suggested against Eive—a suspicion I still refused to entertain.
“You should enter your balloon as soon as the sunset mist will conceal it,” said Davilo. “By mid-day you may reach the deep bay on the mid sea-belt of the North, where a swift vessel will meet you and convey you in two or three days by a direct course through the canal and gulf you have traversed already, to the port from which you commenced your first submarine voyage.”
“You had better,” I said, “make your instruction a little more particular, or I shall hardly know how to direct my course.”
“Do not dream,” he answered, “that you will be permitted to undertake such a journey but under the safest guidance. At the time I have named all will be ready for your departure, and you have simply to sleep or read or meditate as you will, till you reach your destination.”
Eveena was not a little startled when I informed her of the sudden journey before me, and my determination that she should be my companion. It was unquestionably a trying effort for her, especially the balloon voyage, which would expose her to the cold of the mists and of the night, and I feared to the intenser cold of the upper air. But I dared not leave her, and she was pleased by a peremptory decision which made her the companion of my absence, without leaving room for discussion or question. The time for our departure was drawing near when, followed by Eunane, she came into my chamber.
“If we are to be long away,” she said, “you must say on whom my charges are to devolve.”
“As you please,” I answered, sure of her choice, and well content to see her hand over her cares to Eunane, who, if she lacked the wisdom and forbearance of Eveena, could certainly hold the reins with a stronger hand.
“Eive,” she said, “has asked the charge of my flowerbed; but I had promised it, and”——
“And you would rather give it,” I answered, “to Eunane? Naturally; and I should not care to allow Eive the chance of spoiling your work. I think we may now trust whatever is yours in those once troublesome hands,” looking at Eunane, “with perfect assurance that they will do their best.”