She waited to hear Father Oliver’s account of himself, but not having a story prepared, he pretended he was too tired to speak; and as he lay back in his chair he composed a little story, telling how he had been for a long walk with Father Moran, and, coming back in the dark, had missed his way on the outskirts of the wood. She began to raise some objections, but he said she was not to excite herself, and went out to see Alec, who, not being a quick-witted fellow, was easily persuaded into an acceptance of a very modified version of the incident, and Father Oliver lay back in his chair wondering if he had succeeded in deceiving Catherine. It would seem that he had, for when she came to visit him again from her kitchen she spoke of something quite different, which surprised him, for she was a very observant woman of inexhaustible curiosity. But this time, however, he had managed to keep his secret from her, and, dismissing her, he thought of Nora’s letter.
From Miss Nora Glynn to Father Oliver Gogarty.
’December 12, 19—.
’DEAR FATHER GOGARTY,
’I received “The Imitation” to-day and your two letters, one asking me if I had got the book. We had left Munich without giving instructions about our letters, so please accept my apologies and my best thanks. The Elizabethan translation, as you point out, is beautiful English, and I am glad to have the book; it will remind me of you, and I will keep it by me even if I do not read it very often. I passed the book over to Mr. Poole; he read it for a few minutes, and then returned it to me. “A worthy man, no doubt,” he said, “but prone to taking things for granted. ‘The Imitation,’” he continued, “reminds me of a flower growing in the shade of a cloister, dying for lack of sun, and this is surely not the right kind of reading for you or your friend Father Oliver.” I feel sure you want a change. Change of scene brings a change of mind. Why don’t you come to Italy? Italy is the place for you. Italy is your proper mind. Mr. Poole says that Italy is every man’s proper mind, and you’re evidently thinking of Italy, for you ask for a description of where I am staying, saying that a ray of Italian sunlight will cheer you. Come to Italy. You can come here without danger of meeting us. We are leaving at the end of the month.
’But I could go on chattering page after page, telling you about gardens and orange-trees (the orange-trees are the best part of the decoration; even now the great fruit hangs in the green leaves); and when I had described Italy, and you had described all the castles and the islands, we could turn back and discuss our religious differences. But I doubt if any good would come of this correspondence. You see, I have got my work to do, and you have got yours, and, notwithstanding all you say, I do not believe you to be unable to write the history of the lake and its castles. Your letters prove that you can,