Only, above and beyond all these forces of nature and these currents of cause and effect, there was still the great, eternal Source of all things, who was able to dispel ignorance and to endow one individual with the power to help another by his prayers and thoughts. This God could hasten and bring Happiness, if only He were believed in with absolute faith. But that He would ever stoop to punish was an unheard-of blasphemy. He was only and entirely concerned with good. Punishments came as the results of actions. It followed then that John Derringham, having paid the price of much sorrow for all his mistakes, would now come into peace—and her prayers, and exceptional advantages in having been allowed for years to learn the forces of nature, would be permitted to help him. That he would be obliged to marry Mrs. Cricklander would seem to be an overexaction, and not just. But they were not the judges, and must in all cases fulfill their part of honesty and truth, no matter what might betide.
These were her convictions, and so they caused her to feel only a God-like calm—as she went away into the purple shadows of the old streets.
Cheiron and she had been at San Gimignano for half a week, and almost every child in the place knew and loved her. She had always a gracious word or a merry smile when they clustered round her, as is their friendly way with all travelers, when she came from the Cathedral or the strange old solitary chapel of St. Jacopo.
The Professor was waiting for her on the hotel steps, and he saw by some extra radiance in her face that something unusual had happened.
“What is it, my child?” he asked, as they went in and up to their dinner in the big salle a manger upon the first floor, which was then nearly always empty of guests.
“John Derringham is here, Master,” she said—“and we have talked, and now all shadows are gone—and we must only wait.”
“I am glad to hear it,” replied Cheiron, and bristled his brows.
This is all that was said between them on the subject, and, immediately the meal was over, they retired to their rooms. But when alone in hers, Halcyone took from the silken wrappings the Goddess Aphrodite, and in the divine eyes read a glad blessing, and, as soon as her head touched her pillow, she fell into a soft sweet sleep, while the warm night winds flew in at the wide-opened windows and caressed her hair.
And John Derringham, when the dark had fallen, came down from his high watch tower, and walked slowly back to the hotel, leaning upon his stick. He was still filled with the hush of his loved one’s serene calm. Surely, after all, there must be some truth in her beliefs, and he would trust to them, too, and wait and hope—and above all keep his word, as she had said, with that honor which is entailed upon a gentleman.
He ordered his motor for dawn the next morning, so as to be away before the chance of disturbing the two should occur.