Out of the fervent heat—he had come. Beth looked up. Bedient had drawn back to the door. Light from the hidden sun was in the room.... He was gone.
Beth did not yet know the babe’s story. Some dying woman’s love-child, she thought.... She would give him her years—to make him brave and beautiful. It would be her gift to the world—her greatest painting—and the little child would name it Mother.
“He means me to have it!” she murmured. “I think this has been struggling to get into my heart for years—the child of some woman who has kissed and died for it! ... I think—I think this is the end of the fiery waiting.... Little boy, you shall heal the broken dreams, and I shall read in your eyes—the world-secret which aches so heavily in the breasts of women.”
* * * * *
Long afterward she heard his step upon the stair again.... As she turned to the door from the far corner—there was a tiny cry—just as she had heard it before—in that high noon.
She went back to the child.
And Bedient with further bundles, waited smiling outside the door.