And he did not see Halcyone again for several years.
The seasons came and went with peaceful regularity, unbroken by a jarring note from the outside world. Mr. Anderton, being well assured by the Misses La Sarthe that his stepdaughter was receiving a splendid education, was only too glad to leave her in peace, and Mrs. Anderton felt her duty achieved when at the beginning of each summer and winter she sent a supply of what she considered suitable clothes. It took Priscilla and Hester hours to alter them to Halcyone’s slender shape.
Mr. Carlyon was seldom absent from his house during this period, only twice a year, when he spent a fortnight in London in June, and another week in November with his brother, a squire of some note in the Cornish world. Halcyone made green his old age with the exquisite quality of her opening mind. And deep down in her heart there always dwelt the image of John Derringham, and whatever new hero she read about, he unconsciously assumed some of his features or mien. She passed through enthusiasms for all periods, and for quite six months was under the complete spell of the “Morte d’Arthur” and the adventures of the knights contained therein. She read voraciously and systematically, but her first love for all things Greek regained its hold and undoubtedly colored her whole view of life.
Her education was exotic and might have ruined a brain of lesser fiber. But for her it seemed to bring forth all that was clear and fine and polish it with a diamond luster. Twice a week alternately the French and German master from the Applewood Grammar School came to her, and she also learned to read music from the organist at the church, and then played to herself with no technique but much taste.
And of all her masters, Nature and the fearless study of her night moods molded her soul the most.
For the first few months after John Derringham’s visit Mr. Carlyon often spoke of him and read aloud bits of his letters, and Halcyone listened with rapt attention, but she never embarked upon the subject herself—and then the Professor had an accident to his knee which kept him a prisoner for months. And somehow the interest of this seemed to dwarf less present things, and as time went on, John Derringham grew to be mentioned only by fits and starts, when his rapidly rising political career called forth cynical grunts of admiration from his old master. There had been a dissolution of Parliament and a short term of office for the other side, and then at the General Election John Derringham’s Chief had come in again stronger than ever, and he himself had been made Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. It was a tremendous rise for one so young. He was at that time not more than twenty-nine years old—but two years before this happened, when Halcyone was about fifteen, he came again to the orchard house for a short Saturday to Monday visit.