He remembered the music. “Oh, if I only knew how to tell you,” he murmured ecstatically, “what a revelation your playing has been to me! I had never imagined anything like it. I shall think of it to my dying day.”
He began to remember as well the spirit that was in the air when the music ended. The details of what he had felt and said rose vaguely in his mind. Pondering them, his eye roved past Celia’s white-robed figure to the broad, open doorway beyond. The curtains behind which she had disappeared were again parted and fastened back. A dim light was burning within, out of sight, and its faint illumination disclosed a room filled with white marbles, white silks, white draperies of varying sorts, which shaped themselves, as he looked, into the canopy and trappings of an extravagantly over-sized and sumptuous bed. He looked away again.
“I wish you would tell me what you really mean by that Greek idea of yours,” he said with the abruptness of confusion.
Celia did not display much enthusiasm in the tone of her answer. “Oh,” she said almost indifferently, “lots of things. Absolute freedom from moral bugbears, for one thing. The recognition that beauty is the only thing in life that is worth while. The courage to kick out of one’s life everything that isn’t worth while; and so on.”
“But,” said Theron, watching the mingled delicacy and power of the bared arm and the shapely grace of the hand which she had lifted to her face, “I am going to get you to teach it all to me.” The memories began crowding in upon him now, and the baffling note upon which the mazurka had stopped short chimed like a tuning-fork in his ears. “I want to be a Greek myself, if you’re one. I want to get as close to you—to your ideal, that is, as I can. You open up to me a whole world that I had not even dreamed existed. We swore our friendship long ago, you know: and now, after tonight—you and the music have decided me. I am going to put the things out of my life that are not worthwhile. Only you must help me; you must tell me how to begin.”
He looked up as he spoke, to enforce the almost tender entreaty of his words. The spectacle of a yawn, only fractionally concealed behind those talented fingers, chilled his soft speech, and sent a flush over his face. He rose on the instant.
Celia was nothing abashed at his discovery. She laughed gayly in confession of her fault, and held her hand out to let him help her disentangle her foot from her draperies, and get off the divan. It seemed to be her meaning that he should continue holding her hand after she was also standing.
“You forgive me, don’t you?” she urged smilingly. “Chopin always first excites me, then sends me to sleep. You see how you sleep tonight!”
The brown, velvety eyes rested upon him, from under their heavy lids, with a languorous kindliness. Her warm, large palm clasped his in frank liking.