And the same close, blue weather that had prevailed before the storm returned, the same diffused sunlight.
‘There is nothing so depressing,’ the priest said, ’as seeing swallows flying a few feet from the ground.’
It was about eight o’clock—the day had begun to droop in his garden—that he walked up and down the beds admiring his carnations. Every now and again the swallows collected into groups of some six or seven, and fled round the gables of his house shrieking. ’This is their dinner-hour; the moths are about.’ He wondered on, thinking Nora lacking; for she had never appreciated that beautiful flower Miss Shifner. But her ear was finer than his; she found her delight in music.
A thought broke through his memories. He had forgotten to tell her he would write if he succeeded in crossing the lake, and if he didn’t write she would never know whether he was living or dead. Perhaps it would be better so. After hesitating a moment, the desire to write to her took strong hold upon him, and he sought an excuse for writing. If he didn’t write, she might think that he remained in Garranard. She knew nothing of Moran’s visit, nor of the rising of the wind, nor of the waning of the moon; and he must write to her about these things, for if he were drowned she would think that God had willed it. But if he believed in God’s intervention, he should stay in his parish and pray that grace might be given to him. ’God doesn’t bother himself about such trifles as my staying or my going,’ he muttered as he hastened towards his house, overcome by an immense joy. For he was happy only when he was thinking of her, or doing something connected with her, and to tell her of the fatality that seemed to pursue him would occupy an evening.
From Father Oliver Gogarty to Miss Nora Glynn.
’July 25, 19—.
’You will be surprised to hear from me so soon again, but I forgot to say in my last letter that, if I succeeded in crossing the lake, I would write to you from New York. And since then many things have happened, strange and significant coincidences.’
And when he had related the circumstance of Father Moran’s visit and the storm, he sought to excuse his half-beliefs that these were part of God’s providence sent to warn him against leaving his parish.
’Only time can rid us of ideas that have been implanted in us in our youth, and that have grown up in our flesh and in our mind. A sudden influence may impel us to tear them up and cast them aside, but the seed is in us always, and it grows again. “One year’s seed, seven years’ weed.” And behind imported Palestinian supernature, if I may be permitted to drop into Mr. Poole’s style, or what I imagine to be his style, there is the home belief in fairies, spirits, and ghosts, and the reading of omens. Who amongst us does not remember the old nurse who told him stories of magic and witchcraft? Nor can it be denied that things happen that seem in contradiction to all we know of Nature’s laws. Moreover, these unusual occurrences have a knack of happening to men at the moment of their setting out on some irrevocable enterprise.