“You might help me and we could look into it some day,” she said.
Mr. Carlyon took Aphrodite into his hands and raised her head, examining every point with minute care, and now her expression appeared to change and grow sad in the different effect of light.
“I do not want her to be up upon a pillar like Artemis and Hebe, who are still in the hall,” Halcyone said. “She could not talk to me then, she would be always the same. I like to hold her this way and that, and then I can see her moods and the blue silks keeps her nice and warm.”
“It is a great possession,” said Cheiron, “and I understand your joy in it,” and he handed the head back to the child with respect.
Halcyone bent and caressed it with her soft little velvet cheek.
“See,” she said. “Once I was very foolish and cried about something and the tears made this little mark,” and she pointed to two small spots which did not gleam quite so much as the rest of the surface. “Tears always do silly things—I am never so foolish now.” And then her young voice became dreamy and her eyes widened with a look as though she saw far beyond.
“Cheiron—all the world is made for gladness if we only do not take the ugly things with us everywhere. There is summer, as it is now, when we rest and play and all the gods come down from Olympus and dance and sing and bask in the light—and then the autumn when the colors are rich and everything prepares for winter and sleeps. But even in the cold and dark we must not be sad, because we know it is only for a time and to give us change, so that we may shout for joy when the spring comes and each year discover in it some new beauty.”
Cheiron did not speak for a while, he, too, was musing.
“You are a little Epicurean,” he said at last, “and presently we shall read about Epicurus’ great principles and his garden where he taught and lived.”
John Derringham had been at the orchard house for three or four days before there was any sign of Halcyone. She had kept away on purpose and was doing her best to repress the sense of resentment the thought of the presence of a stranger caused. Mr. Carlyon had given her some simple books upon the Renaissance which she was devouring with joy. This period seemed to give some echo of the Greek ideas she loved, and as was her habit she was visualizing everything as she read, bringing the people and the places up before her mental eyes, and regulating them into friends or acquaintances. Cheiron did not confine himself to teaching her Greek alone, but directed all her reading, taking a growing delight in her intelligent mind. Thus they had many talks upon history and the natural sciences and poetry and painting. But to hear of the famous statues and learn from pictures to know the styles of the old sculptors seemed to please her best of all.