“Very far apart, cousin.”
“Will you remember this ride?”
“Yes,” I said, troubled.
“I will, too.... And I shall wonder what you are doing.”
“And I shall think of you,” I said, soberly.
“Will you write?”
“Yes. Will you?”
Silence fell between us like a shadow; then:
“Yonder rides Sir George Covert,” she said, listlessly.
I saw him dismounting before his door, but said nothing.
“Shall we move forward?” she asked, but did not stir a finger towards the bridle lying on her horse’s neck.
Another silence; and, impatiently:
“I cannot bear to have you go,” she said; “we are perfectly contented together—and I wish you to know all the thoughts I have touching on the world and on people. I cannot tell them to my father, nor to Ruyven—and Cecile is too young—”
“There is Sir George,” I said.
“He! Why, I should never think of telling him of these thoughts that please or trouble or torment me!” she said, in frank surprise. “He neither cares for the things you care for nor thinks about them at all.”
“Perhaps he does. Ask him.”
“I have. He smiles and says nothing. I am afraid to tax his courtesy with babble of beast and bird and leaf and flower; and why one man is rich and another poor; and whether it is right that men should hold slaves; and why our Lord permits evil, having the power to end it for all time. I should like to know all these things,” she said, earnestly.
“But I do not know them, Dorothy.”
“Still, you think about them, and so do I. Sir Lupus says you have liberated your Greeks and sent them back. I want to know why. Then, too, though neither you nor I can know our Lord’s purpose in enduring the evil that Satan plans, it is pleasant, I think, to ask each other.”
“To think together,” I said, sadly.
“Yes; that is it. Is it not a pleasure?”
“It does not matter that we fail to learn; it is the happiness in knowing that the other also cares to know, the delight in seaching for reason together. Cousin, I have so longed to say this to somebody; and until you came I never believed it possible.... I wish we were brother and sister! I wish you were Cecile, and I could be with you all day and all night.... At night, half asleep, I think of wonderful things to talk about, but I forget them by morning. Do you?”
“It is strange we are so alike!” she said, staring at me thoughtfully.
After a few moments’ silence we moved forward towards the pleasure-house, and we had scarcely started when down the road, from the north, came the patroon riding a powerful black horse, attended by old Cato mounted on a raw-boned hunter, and by one Peter Van Horn, the district Brandt-Meester, or fire-warden. As they halted at Sir George Covert’s door, we rode up to join them at a gallop, and the patroon, seeing us far off, waved his hat at us in evident good humor.