And yet, this was the creature whom the new David Cairns had come to, again and again and again. This mighty fact arose from the vortex of confusion and alarm. “Ah, David,” she thought, “is it not too late? Am I not too old and weathered a world-campaigner?... I am old, David. Older than my years. Older even than I look! I have warred so long, that I think all peace and happiness from now on would kill me. Oh, you don’t want me. Surely you can’t want me!”
But there were sad smilings upon the hundred hand-wrought faces in the room. The Marys, the Magdalens, and the Marthas were a strangely smiling Sisterhood.... “Child, you have been faithful in the little things,” came to her. “You have thought of us and wept with us and loved us, and we have prevailed to bring you happiness.”
And so the other side of the picture—Vina Nettleton’s life picture—now turned. The “Stations” were like panels of fairies, after that. All the hidden shames and secrets of the years, the awful sense of being unwanted at the hearth of the human family, were taken from her, like the brittle and dusty packings from a glorious urn. Some marvel of freshness sped through her veins. She was not as yesterday—a little gray shade of an evil dream. Yesterday, and all the yesterdays, she had modelled alone, poor creatures of clay, and now the world suddenly called her to the academy of immortals....
Yes, he had come. He was brave and beloved.... She arose and knelt in the dark before that panel of greatest meaning—the Gethsemane. And long afterward, she stood by the open window. There were no stars, but the tired city was cut in light. And faint sounds reached her from below.... They were not Jews and Romans, but her own people, rushing to and fro for the happiness she had found.
BETH SIGNS THE PICTURE
Bedient walked up the Avenue, carrying one of his small leather-bound books to Beth. It was the day after the call of the Grey One there. He had learned to give—which may be made an exquisite art—little things that forbade refusal, but which were invested with cumulative values. Thus he brought many of his rare books of the world to the studio. In them she came upon his marginal milestones, and girdled them with her own pencillings. So their inner silences were broken, and they entered the concourse of the elect together.