Ah, this was better! Lights all along the apartment floor and moving shadows; on Jimmy’s window-sill a jar of milk. And voices—some one was singing.
Peter was singing, droning softly, as one who puts a drowsy child to sleep. Slower and slower, softer and softer, over and over, the little song Harmony had been wont to sing:—
“Ah well! For us all some sweet hope lies
Deeply buried from human eyes.
And in the—hereafter—angels may
Slower and slower, softer and softer, until it died away altogether. Peter, in his old dressing-gown, came to the window and turned down the gaslight beside it to a blue point. Harmony did not breathe. For a minute, two minutes, he stood there looking out. Far off the twin clocks of the Votivkirche struck the hour. All about lay the lights of the old city, so very old, so wise, so cunning, so cold.
Peter stood looking out, as he had each night since Harmony went away. Each night he sang the boy to sleep, turned down the light and stood by the window. And each night he whispered to the city that sheltered Harmony somewhere, what he had whispered to the little sweater coat the night before he went away:—
“Good-night, dear. Good-night, Harmony.”
The rabbits stirred uneasily in the hutch; a passing gust shook the great tree overhead and sent down a sharp shower on to the bricks below. Peter struck a match and lit his pipe; the flickering light illuminated his face, his rough hair, his steady eyes.
“Good-night, Peter,” whispered Harmony. “Good-night, dear.”
Walter Stewart had made an uncomplicated recovery, helped along by relief at the turn events had taken. In a few days he was going about again, weak naturally, rather handsomer than before because a little less florid. But the week’s confinement had given him an opportunity to think over many things. Peter had set him thinking, on the day when he had packed up the last of Marie’s small belongings and sent them down to Vienna.
Stewart, lying in bed, had watched him. “Just how much talk do you suppose this has made, Byrne?” he asked.
“Haven’t an idea. Some probably. The people in the Russian villa saw it, you know.”
Stewart’s brows contracted.
“Damnation! Then the hotel has it, of course!”
Stewart groaned. Peter closed Marie’s American trunk of which she had been so proud, and coming over looked down at the injured man.
“Don’t you think you’d better tell the girl all about it?”
“I know, of course, it wouldn’t be easy, but—you can’t get away with it, Stewart. That’s one way of looking at it. There’s another.”
“Starting with a clean slate. If she’s the sort you want to marry, and not a prude, she’ll understand, not at first, but after she gets used to it.”