This must wait. This must prove. If he went away—enough! She had been hasty and implacable once—this time she would wait.
Beth would have liked to talk with David Cairns, but she could not bring up such a subject. This was not her sort of talk-material with him. Plainly he would not mention it, in the hope that her ears had missed it entirely.
She had even felt a rage against the Grey One for bringing the news. This helped to show how maddened and unjust she was, in those first terrible moments. Piece by piece she had drawn the odious thing from her caller, who was by no means inclined to spread and thicken the shadow of an evil tale. Marguerite Grey was not a weigher of motives, nor penetrative in the chemistry of scandal. So many testimonies had come to her of the world’s commonness that she had become flexible in judgment. What had been so terrible at first was to identify Andrew Bedient with these sordid things, so obvious and shallow. But was he identified with them? Rather, did he not feel himself sufficiently an entity to be safe in any company? Did he not trust her, and worth-while people, to grant him this much?... This was the highest point in the upsweep of her thoughts.
So the story extracted from the Grey One was held free from its fatal aspect, until time should dissolve the matter of the shore.... After all, the lamplight, usually soft and mellow in the gold-brown room, held an alien, unearthly glitter for Beth’s strained eyes.... Was it that which kept the Shadowy Sister afar, as the light from the colored pane in the hall of his boyhood had frightened him?
THE SINGING DISTANCES
David Cairns was coming along. He had ridden his ego down stream, until he heard the rapids. Now he was towing it back. He planned to go just as far and as fast up stream as he could. The current, to him, had become the crowd. One can see the crowd as it brushes past, as one can never see it from the ruck.... Sometimes it came to him in a flash, that this new David Cairns was but another lie and pose—but this couldn’t hold. It was a bit of deviltry that wouldn’t stand scrutiny. There had been too much unfolding o’ nights; too many gifts found upon the doorstep of his mind in the morning, revealing the sleepless activity of something identified with him, but wiser than he; too much cutting down of false cultures, and outpourings of sincere friendship, and general joy of giving. Then, there was some real clean-cut thinking that expressed itself with brevity and finish; and also, the wonder-working in his heart—the happiest thing that had ever befallen—his conception of the genius of woman in Vina Nettleton.