“I don’t want to sleep at all,” Mr. Ware was impelled to say. “I want to lie awake and think about—about everything all over again.”
She smiled drowsily. “And you’re sure you feel strong enough to walk home?”
“Yes,” he replied, with a lingering dilatory note, which deepened upon reflection into a sigh. “Oh, yes.”
He followed her and her candle down the magnificent stairway again. She blew the light out in the hall, and, opening the front door, stood with him for a silent moment on the threshold. Then they shook hands once more, and with a whispered good-night, parted.
Celia, returning to the blue and yellow room, lighted a cigarette and helped herself to some Benedictine in the glass which Theron had used. She looked meditatively at this little glass for a moment, turning it about in her fingers with a smile. The smile warmed itself suddenly into a joyous laugh. She tossed the glass aside, and, holding out her flowing skirts with both hands, executed a swinging pirouette in front of the gravely beautiful statue of the armless woman.
It was apparent to the Rev. Theron Ware, from the very first moment of waking next morning, that both he and the world had changed over night. The metamorphosis, in the harsh toils of which he had been laboring blindly so long, was accomplished. He stood forth, so to speak, in a new skin, and looked about him, with perceptions of quite an altered kind, upon what seemed in every way a fresh existence. He lacked even the impulse to turn round and inspect the cocoon from which he had emerged. Let the past bury the past. He had no vestige of interest in it.
The change was not premature. He found himself not in the least confused by it, or frightened. Before he had finished shaving, he knew himself to be easily and comfortably at home in his new state, and master of all its requirements.
It seemed as if Alice, too, recognized that he had become another man, when he went down and took his chair at the breakfast table. They had exchanged no words since their parting in the depot-yard the previous evening—an event now faded off into remote vagueness in Theron’s mind. He smiled brilliantly in answer to the furtive, half-sullen, half-curious glance she stole at him, as she brought the dishes in.
“Ah! potatoes warmed up in cream!” he said, with hearty pleasure in his tone. “What a mind-reader you are, to be sure!”
“I’m glad you’re feeling so much better,” she said briefly, taking her seat.
“Better?” he returned. “I’m a new being!”
She ventured to look him over more freely, upon this assurance. He perceived and catalogued, one by one, the emotions which the small brain was expressing through those shallow blue eyes of hers. She was turning over this, that, and the other hostile thought and childish grievance—most of all she was dallying with the idea of asking him where he had been till after midnight. He smiled affably in the face of this scattering fire of peevish glances, and did not dream of resenting any phase of them all.