It may have been that the fizzes were insidious or that Mr. Pike was unduly persuasive, or that a combination of these two powerful influences moved the elderly tutor to impulses of unusual generosity. At any rate, he found himself possessed of an affection for the young man from Bessemer, Pennsylvania. It was an affection both fatherly and brotherly. When Mr. Pike asked him to perform just a small service for him, he promised and then promised again and was still promising when his host went with him to the carriage and said that he had not lived in vain and that in years to come he would gather his grandchildren around him and tell of the circumstances of his meeting with the greatest scholar in southeastern Europe.
On the morning after the strange happenings in the garden, Kalora sat by one of the cross-barred windows overlooking a side street, and envied the humble citizens and unimportant woman drifting happily across her field of vision.
Never in all her life had she walked out alone. The sweet privilege of courting adventure had been denied her. And yet she felt, on this morning, an almost intimate acquaintance with the outside world, for had she not talked with a valorous young man who could leap over high walls and subdue giants and pay compliments? He had thrown a sudden glare of romance across her lonesome pathway. The few minutes with him seemed to encompass everything in life that was worth remembering. She told herself that already she liked him better than any other young man she had met, which was not surprising, for he had been the first to sit beside her and look into her eyes and tell her that she was beautiful. She knew that whatever of wretchedness the years might hold in store for her, no local edict could rob her of one precious memory. She had locked it up and put it away, beyond the reach of courts and relatives.
During many wakeful hours she had recalled each minute detail of that amazing interview in the garden, and had tried to estimate and foreshadow the young man’s plan of escape from the secret police.
Perhaps he had been taken during the night. The greatest good fortune that she could picture for him was a quick flight across the frontier, which meant that he would never return—that she had seen him once and could not hope to see him again.
In her contemplation of the luminous figure of the Only Young Man, she had ceased to speculate concerning her own misfortunes. The fact of her disgrace remained in the background, eclipsed—not in evidence except as a dim shadow over the day.
While she sat immovable, gazing into the street, feeling within herself a tumult which was not of pain, nor yet of pleasure, but a satisfactory commingling of both, she heard her name spoken. Popova was standing in the doorway. He greeted her with a smile and bow, both of which struck her as being singularly affected, for he was not given to polite observances. As he squatted near her, she noticed that he was tremulous and seemed almost frightened about something.