“Then I’ll try and be glad too,” sobbed poor Gracie. “But it’s very, very difficult. Pat and I loved him so, and he—he loved us.”
“My dear, that love won’t die,” Avery said gently.
“The gift immortal,” said Crowther. “The only thing that counts.”
She looked round at him quickly, but his eyes were gazing straight into the sunset—steadfast eyes that saw to the very heart of things.
“And Life in Death,” he added quietly.
THE PRISONER IN THE DUNGEON
Avery was already dressed when she heard Piers enter his room and say a word to Victor. She stood by her window waiting. It was growing late, but she felt sure he would come to her.
She heard Victor bustling about in his resilient fashion, and again Piers’ voice, somewhat curt and peremptory, reached her through the closed door. He was evidently dressing at full speed. She was conscious of a sense of disappointment, though she kept it at bay, reminding herself that they must not keep their guest waiting.
But presently, close upon the dinner-hour, she went herself to the door of her husband’s room and knocked.
His voice answered her immediately, but it still held that unwonted quality of irritation in it. “Oh, Avery, I can’t let you in. I’m sorry. Victor’s here.”
Something—a small, indignant spirit—sprang up within her in response. “Send Victor away!” she said. “I want to come in.”
“I shall be late if I do,” he made answer. “I’m horribly late as it is.”
But for once Avery’s habitual docility was in abeyance. “Send Victor away!” she reiterated.
She heard Piers utter an impatient word, and then in a moment or two he raised his voice again. “Come in then! What is it?”
She opened the door with an odd unaccustomed feeling of trepidation.
He was standing in his shirt-sleeves brushing his hair vigorously at the table. His back was towards her, but the glass reflected his face, and she saw that his brows were drawn into a single hard black line. His lips were tightly compressed. He looked undeniably formidable.
“Don’t you want me, Piers?” she asked, pausing in the doorway.
His eyes flashed up to hers in the glass, glowing with the smouldering fire, oddly fitful, oddly persistent. “Come in!” he said, without turning. “What is it?”
She went forward to him. “Did you go to the Vicarage?” she asked. “Are they in great trouble?”
She thought she saw relief in his face at her words. “Oh yes,” he said. “Mrs. Lorimer crying as usual, Jeanie trying to comfort her. I did my best to hearten them up but you know what they are. I say, sit down!”
“No, I am going,” she answered gently. “Did you get on all right this afternoon?”
“Oh yes,” he said again. “By the way, we must get a wedding-present for Ina Rose and another for Guyes. You’ll come to the wedding, Avery?”