The pen in my hand dropped upon the desk, and for a while I did not speak. Then I got up and went toward David Guard, who had also risen. “You mean—” The words died in my throat.
“That he is beginning to understand why you came to Scarborough Square; to grasp the necessity of human contact for human interpretation. He, too, is seeing himself, his life, his world, from the viewpoint of Scarborough Square, and what he sees gives neither peace nor pride nor satisfaction. He will never see so clearly as you, perhaps, but certain cynicisms, certain intolerances, certain indifferences and endurances will yield to keener perception of the necessity for new purposes in life.” He held out his hand. “He needs you very much. I’ve got to go. Good-by.”
For a long time I sat by the fire and watched it die. Was David Guard right, or had it been in vain, the venture that had brought me to Scarborough Square? I had told Selwyn I had come that I might see from its vantage-ground the sort of person I was and what I was doing with life; but it was also in the secret hope that he, too, might see the kindred of all men to men, the need of each for each, that I had come. If together we could stand between those of high and low degree, between the rich and the poor, the strong and the weak, with hands outstretched to both, and so standing bring about, perhaps, a better understanding of each other, then my coming would have been worth while. But would we ever so stand? All that I had hoped for seemed as dead as the ashes on the hearth. I had brought him pain and humiliation, drawn back, without intention, curtains that hid ugly, cruel things, and for him Scarborough Square would mean forever bitter memories of bitter revealing. I had failed. I had tried, and I had failed, and I could hold out no longer.
Getting up, I pressed my hands to my heart to still triumphant throbbing. It had won, I did not hate his house. I hated its walls. But I could no longer live without him. I would marry him when he came back.
My hands in his, Selwyn looked long at me, then again drew me to him, again raised my face to his. “A thousand times I’ve asked. A thousand times could give myself no answer. Why did you wire me to come back, Danny?”
“You were staying too long.”
He smiled. “No; it was not that. There was something else. What was it?”
“I wanted to see you.”
He shook his head. “What was it? Why did you send for me?”
“To—tell you I would marry you whenever you wish me to—”
His face whitened and the grip of his hands hurt. Presently he spoke again. “But there was something else. You had other reasons. Surely between us there is to be complete and perfect understanding. What is it, Danny?”
I drew away and motioned him to sit beside me on the sofa. In the firelit room faint fragrance of the flowers with which he kept it filled crept to us, and around it we both glanced as if its spirit were not intangible; and at unspoken thought his hands again held mine.