’Good heavens! how she hates me, and she’ll hate me till her dying day. She’ll never forget. And this is the end of it, a bitter, unforgiving letter.’ He sat down to think, and it seemed to him that she wouldn’t have written this letter if she had known the agony of mind he had been through. But of this he wasn’t sure. No, no; he could not believe her spiteful. And he walked up and down the room, trying to quell the bitterness rising up within him. No other priest would have taken the trouble; they would have just forgotten all about it, and gone about congratulating themselves on their wise administration. But he had acted rightly, Father O’Grady had approved of what he had done; and this was his reward. She’ll never come back, and will never forgive him; and ever since writing to her he had indulged in dreams of her return to Ireland, thinking how pleasant it would be to go down to the lake in the mornings, and stand at the end of the sandy spit looking across the lake towards Tinnick, full of the thought that she was there with his sisters earning her living. She wouldn’t be in his parish, but they’d have been friends, neighbours, and he’d have accepted the loss of his organist as his punishment. Eva Maguire was no good; there would never be any music worth listening to in his parish again. Such sternness as her letter betrayed was not characteristic of her; she didn’t understand, and never would. Catherine’s step awoke him; the awaking was painful, and he couldn’t collect his thoughts enough to answer Catherine; and feeling that he must appear to her daft, he tried to speak, but his speech was only babble.
‘You haven’t read your other letter, your reverence.’
He recognized the handwriting; it was from Father O’Grady.
From Father O’Grady to Father Oliver Gogarty.
’June 8, 19—.
’MY DEAR FATHER GOGARTY,
’I was very glad to hear that Miss Glynn told her story truthfully; for if she exaggerated or indulged in equivocation, it would be a great disappointment to me and to her friends, and would put me in a very difficult position, for I should have to tell certain friends of mine, to whom I recommended her, that she was not all that we imagined her to be. But all’s well that ends well; and you will be glad to hear that I have appointed her organist in my church. It remains, therefore, only for me to thank you for your manly letter, acknowledging the mistake you have made.
’I can imagine the anxiety it must have caused you, and the great relief it must have been to you to get my letter. Although Miss Glynn spoke with bitterness, she did not try to persuade me that you were naturally hard-hearted or cruel. The impression that her story left on my mind was that your allusions to her in your sermon were unpremeditated. Your letter is proof that I was not mistaken, and I am sure the lesson you have received will bear fruit. I trust that you will use your influence to restrain other priests from similar violence. It is only by gentleness and kindness that we can do good. I shall be glad to see you if you ever come to London.