She turned away as a great sound began to swim and tremble in the air; the huge empty space of the church filled with it, and the two people listening filled with it; the universe seemed to fill and thrill with it. The two sat intensely still, the great sound all round about them, while the church grew dusky, and only the organist’s lamp made a tiny star of light. His white head moved from side to side beneath it rhythmically, or lunged and recovered with the fierceness of a duelist thrusting, but he was magnificently the master of his giant, and it sang to his magic as he bade it.
Bibbs was swept away upon that mighty singing. Such a thing was wholly unknown to him; there had been no music in his meager life. Unlike the tale, it was the Princess Bedrulbudour who had brought him to the enchanted cave, and that—for Bibbs—was what made its magic dazing. It seemed to him a long, long time since he had been walking home drearily from Dr. Gurney’s office; it seemed to him that he had set out upon a happy journey since then, and that he had reached another planet, where Mary Vertrees and he sat alone together listening to a vast choiring of invisible soldiers and holy angels. There were armies of voices about them singing praise and thanksgiving; and yet they were alone. It was incredible that the walls of the church were not the boundaries of the universe, to remain so for ever; incredible that there was a smoky street just yonder, where housemaids were bringing in evening papers from front steps and where children were taking their last spins on roller-skates before being haled indoors for dinner.
He had a curious sense of communication with his new friend. He knew it could not be so, and yet he felt as if all the time he spoke to her, saying: “You hear this strain? You hear that strain? You know the dream that these sounds bring to me?” And it seemed to him as though she answered continually: “I hear! I hear that strain, and I hear the new one that you are hearing now. I know the dream that these sounds bring to you. Yes, yes, I hear it all! We hear— together!”
And though the church grew so dim that all was mysterious shadow except the vague planes of the windows and the organist’s light, with the white head moving beneath it, Bibbs had no consciousness that the girl sitting beside him had grown shadowy; he seemed to see her as plainly as ever in the darkness, though he did not look at her. And all the mighty chanting of the organ’s multitudinous voices that afternoon seemed to Bibbs to be chorusing of her and interpreting her, singing her thoughts and singing for him the world of humble gratitude that was in his heart because she was so kind to him. It all meant Mary.
But when she asked him what it meant, on their homeward way, he was silent. They had come a few paces from the church without speaking, walking slowly.