He flung his arms up above his head and remained tense for several seconds. Then abruptly he relaxed.
“I’ll be a friend to her,” he said, “a friend that she can trust—or nothing!”
There came a very kindly look into Capper’s green eyes, but he made no comment of any sort. He only turned aside to take up the glass he had set down on entering. And as he did so, he smiled as a man well pleased.
Once during the night he looked in upon Nap and found him sleeping, wrapt in a deep and silent slumber, motionless as death. He stood awhile watching the harsh face with its grim mouth and iron jaw, and slowly a certain pity dawned in his own. The man had suffered infernally before he had found his manhood. He had passed through raging fires that had left their mark upon him for the rest of his life.
“It’s been an almighty big struggle, poor devil,” said Capper, “but it’s made a man of you.”
He left early on the following day, accompanied by Tawny Hudson, whose docility was only out-matched by his very obvious desire to be gone.
True to her promise, Anne was down in time to take leave of Capper. They stood together for a moment on the steps before parting. Her hand in his, he looked straight into her quiet eyes.
“You’re not grieving any, Lady Carfax?”
“No,” she said.
“I guess you’re right,” said Maurice Capper gravely. “We make our little bids for happiness, but it helps one to remember that the issue lies with God.”
She gave him a smile of understanding. “’He knows about it all—He knows—He knows,’” she quoted softly. And Capper went his way, taking with him the memory of a woman who still ploughed her endless furrow, but with a heart at peace.
THE PROMOTION OF THE QUEEN’S JESTER
“My!” said Mrs. Errol. “Isn’t he just dear?”
There was a cooing note in her deep voice. She sat in the Dower House garden with her grandson bolt upright upon her knees, and all the birds of June singing around her.
“Isn’t he dear, Anne?” she said.
Anne, who was dangling a bunch of charms for the baby’s amusement, stooped and kissed the sunny curls.
“He’s a lord of creation,” she said. “And he knows it already. I never saw such an upright morsel in my life.”
“Lucas was like that,” said Mrs. Errol softly. “He was just the loveliest baby in the U.S.A. Everyone said so. Dot dearie, I’m sort of glad you called him Luke.”
“So am I, mater dearest. And he’s got Luke’s eyes, hasn’t he now? Bertie said so from the very beginning.” Eagerly Dot leaned from her chair to turn her small son’s head to meet his grandmother’s scrutiny. “I’d rather he were like Luke than anyone else in the world,” she said. “It isn’t treason to Bertie to say so, for he wants it too. Where is Bertie, I wonder? He had to go to town, but he promised to be back early for his boy’s first birthday-party. It’s such an immense occasion, isn’t it?”