The room seemed to tumble about him, and he grasped the end of the chimney-piece. And then, feeling that he must get out into the open air, he thought of Moran. He began to feel he must speak to him. He couldn’t remember exactly what he had to say to him, but there was something on his mind which he must speak to Moran about. It seemed to him that he must go away with Moran to some public-house far away and drink. Hadn’t Moran said that there were times when we all wanted drink? He tried to collect his thoughts.... Something had gone wrong, but he couldn’t remember what had gone wrong or where he was. It seemed to him that somebody had lost her soul. He must seek it. It was his duty. Being a priest, he must go forth and find the soul, and bring it back to God. He remembered no more until he found himself in the midst of a great wood, standing in an open space; about him were dripping trees, and a ghostly sky overhead, and no sound but that of falling leaves. Large leaves floated down, and each interested him till it reached the wet earth.
And then he began to wonder why he was in the wood at night, and why he should be waiting there, looking at the glimmering sky, seeing the oak-leaves falling, remembering suddenly that he was looking for her soul, for her lost soul, and that something had told him he would find the soul he was seeking in the wood; so he was drawn from glade to glade through the underwoods, and through places so thickly overgrown that it seemed impossible to pass through. And then the thorn-bushes gave way before him, for he was no longer alone. She had descended from the trees into his arms, white and cold, and every moment the wood grew dimmer; but when he expected it to disappear, when he thought he was going to escape for ever with her, an opening in the trees discovered the lake, and in fear he turned back into the wood, seeking out paths where there was little light.
Once he was within the wood, the mist seemed to incorporate again; she descended again into his arms, and this time he would have lifted the veil and looked into her face, but she seemed to forbid him to recognize her under penalty of loss. His desire overcame him, and he put out his hand to lift the veil. As he did so his eyes opened, he saw the wet wood, the shining sky, and she sitting by a stone waiting for him. A little later she came to meet him from behind the hawthorns that grew along the cart-track—a tall woman with a little bend in her walk.