The yacht appeared between the islands, her sails filled with wind, and he began to dream how she might cast anchor outside the reeds. A sailor might draw a pinnace alongside, and he imagined a woman being helped into it and rowed to the landing-place. But the yacht did not cast anchor; her helm was put up, her boom went over, and she went away on another tack. He was glad of his dream, though it lasted but a moment, and when he looked up a great gull was watching him. The bird had come so near that he could see the small round head and the black eyes; as soon as he stirred it wheeled and floated away. Many other little adventures happened before the day ended. A rabbit crawled by him screaming, for he could run no longer, and lay waiting for the weasel that appeared out of the furze. What was to be done? Save it and let the weasel go supperless? At eight the moon rose over Tinnick, and it was a great sight to see the yellow mass rising above the faint shores; and while he stood watching the moon an idea occurred to him that held him breathless. His sister had written to him some days ago asking if he could recommend a music-mistress to her. It was through his sister that he might get Nora back to her country, and it was through his sister that he might make atonement for the wrong he had done. The letter must be carefully worded, for nuns understood so little, so estranged were they from the world. As for his sister Mary, she would not understand at all—she would oppose him; but Eliza was a practical woman, and he had confidence in her good sense.
He entered the house, and, waving Catherine aside, who reminded him that he had had nothing to eat since his dinner the day before, he went to his writing-table and began his letter.
From Father Oliver Gogarty to the Mother Abbess, Tinnick Convent.
’June 3, 19—.
’MY DEAR ELIZA,
’I hope you will forgive me for having delayed so long to answer your letter, but I could not think at the moment of anybody whom I could recommend as music-mistress, and I laid the letter aside, hoping that an idea would come to me. Well, an idea has come to me. I do not think you will find—’
The priest stopped, and after thinking a while he laid down his pen and got up. The sentence he had been about to write was, ’I do not think you will find anyone better than Miss Glynn.’ But he would have to send Father O’Grady’s letter to his sister, and even with Father O’Grady’s letter and all that he might add of an explanation, she would hardly be able to understand; and Eliza might show the letter to Mary, who was prejudiced. Father Oliver walked up and down the room thinking.... A personal interview would be better than the letter, for in a personal interview he would be able to answer his sister’s objections, and instead of the long letter he had intended to write he wrote a short note, adding that he had not seen them for a long time, and would drive over to-morrow afternoon.