“When you want to see her, come down here and see me. Don’t meet on corners or in the park, and—and the next time you’re engaged don’t let a girl think you’re going to wait indefinitely. If she isn’t willing to marry you and go to Pungo if necessary, she isn’t the girl for you to marry. Good night.”
At the door I turned. Tom was still standing at the foot of the steps, staring at me, in his face slow-dawning understanding.
As Selwyn and David Guard shook hands, eagerness of desire must have been in my face, for Selwyn, turning, seemed puzzled by what he saw. Going into the room adjoining my sitting-room, I left them alone for a few moments, and when I came back I was careful to keep out of my eyes that which as yet it was not wise that they should tell. I have long since learned a man must not be hurried. Certainly not a man of Selwyn’s type.
Sitting down in a corner of the sofa, I nodded to the men to sit down also, but that which they had been discussing while I was out of the room still held, and, returning to it, they stood awhile longer, one on either side of the mantelpiece, and, hands in my lap, I watched them with hope in my heart of which they did not dream.
They are strangely contrasting—Selwyn and David Guard. That is, so far as outward and physical appearance is concerned. But of certain inward sympathies, certain personal standards of life, certain intellectual acceptances and rejections, they have far more in common than they imagine, and to find this basis upon which friendship might take root is a desire that sprang into life upon seeing them together. Should they ever be friends, they would be forever friends. Of that I am very sure.
By Selwyn’s side David Guard seemed smaller, frailer, less robust than ever, yet about him was no hint of feebleness, and his radiation of quiet force was not lessened by Selwyn’s strength. His clothes were shabbier than ever, his cravat even less secure than usual, and the long lock of hair that fell at times across his forehead was grayer than formerly, I thought, but no externals could dim the consciousness that he was a man to be reckoned with.
Opposite him Selwyn seemed the embodiment of all he lacked. The well-being of his body, the quiet excellence of his clothes, the unconscious confidence, born of ability and abundance, the security of established position, marked him a man to whom the gods have been good. But the gods mock all men. In Selwyn’s eyes was search for something not yet found. In David Guard’s the peace that comes of finding. I had hardly thought of their knowing each other. To-night, quite by accident, they had met. Selwyn had come according to agreement. David Guard, to tell me of a case in which he was interested. He had come before Selwyn, and at the latter’s entrance had started to go. I would not let him go. If they could be made friends—God!—what a power they could be!