“Angel, if anything happens to me, will you watch over ’Liza-Lu for my sake?” she asked, when they had listened a long time to the wind among the pillars.
“She is so good and simple and pure. O, Angel—I wish you would marry her if you lose me, as you will do shortly. O, if you would!”
“If I lose you I lose all! And she is my sister-in-law.”
“That’s nothing, dearest. People marry sister-laws continually about Marlott; and ’Liza-Lu is so gentle and sweet, and she is growing so beautiful. O, I could share you with her willingly when we are spirits! If you would train her and teach her, Angel, and bring her up for your own self! ... She had all the best of me without the bad of me; and if she were to become yours it would almost seem as if death had not divided us... Well, I have said it. I won’t mention it again.”
She ceased, and he fell into thought. In the far north-east sky he could see between the pillars a level streak of light. The uniform concavity of black cloud was lifting bodily like the lid of a pot, letting in at the earth’s edge the coming day, against which the towering monoliths and trilithons began to be blackly defined.
“Did they sacrifice to God here?” asked she.
“No,” said he.
“I believe to the sun. That lofty stone set away by itself is in the direction of the sun, which will presently rise behind it.”
“This reminds me, dear,” she said. “You remember you never would interfere with any belief of mine before we were married? But I knew your mind all the same, and I thought as you thought—not from any reasons of my own, but because you thought so. Tell me now, Angel, do you think we shall meet again after we are dead? I want to know.”
He kissed her to avoid a reply at such a time.
“O, Angel—I fear that means no!” said she, with a suppressed sob. “And I wanted so to see you again—so much, so much! What—not even you and I, Angel, who love each other so well?”
Like a greater than himself, to the critical question at the critical time he did not answer; and they were again silent. In a minute or two her breathing became more regular, her clasp of his hand relaxed, and she fell asleep. The band of silver paleness along the east horizon made even the distant parts of the Great Plain appear dark and near; and the whole enormous landscape bore that impress of reserve, taciturnity, and hesitation which is usual just before day. The eastward pillars and their architraves stood up blackly against the light, and the great flame-shaped Sun-stone beyond them; and the Stone of Sacrifice midway. Presently the night wind died out, and the quivering little pools in the cup-like hollows of the stones lay still. At the same time something seemed to move on the verge of the dip eastward—a mere dot. It was the head of a man approaching them from the hollow beyond the Sun-stone. Clare wished they had gone onward, but in the circumstances decided to remain quiet. The figure came straight towards the circle of pillars in which they were.