It was Cairns, who inquired if she had heard aught of his friend.... “I reached town Saturday morning,” Cairns went on, “and found a note that he would be away for the day and possibly Sunday; didn’t say where nor why. He left no word at the Club. In fact, Mrs. Wordling called me just now to inquire, volunteering that Bedient had been in her world Friday. Excuse me for bothering you. I’ve an idea this is his way when a gale is blowing in his brain. He pushes out for solitude and sea-room.”
Beth had not offered to assist. The Albany letter might not be his. It stared at her now from the library-table, full-formed black writing. There were no two ways about a single letter. It was the writing of a man who had not covered continents of white paper. “Miss Beth Truba” had been put there to stay, with a full pen, and as if pleasing to his sight. She was thinking—it would be well if Mrs. Wordling were always inquiring; and that the day would be spoiled if he had undertaken to explain things in this letter....
Beth crossed to the table, placed the paper-cutter under the flap and slit it across. Just at this moment, the door of the elevator-shaft opened on her floor—and her knocker fell. She tossed the letter under the leather cover of the table, and admitted Vina Nettleton.
THIS CLAY AND PAINT AGE
A new light had come into the studio of Vina Nettleton; and only when at last the light became too strong, and the struggle too close, had she left it to seek her friend Beth Truba. She had not been sleeping, nor remembering to eat; but she had been thinking enough for seven artists, in the long hours, when the light was bad for work. And now the packing was worn from her nerve-ends, so that she wept easily, like a nervous child, or a man undone from drink.
The new force of Andrew Bedient had found in her a larger sensitiveness than even in David Cairns. That long afternoon which he had spent in her place of working and living was to her a visitation, high above the years. She had been amazed at the Grey One, for preserving a semblance of calm. The gratefulness that she had faltered was but a sign of what she felt.
The figures of Jesus in her room, she had been unable to touch. Bedient had made her see the Godhood of the Christ. John the Baptist, who had attained the apex of manhood and prophecy, had called himself unworthy to loose the latchet of His shoes, and this before Jesus had put on the glory of the Father.