And when she was alone she went deliberately to the glass and smiled radiantly to herself as she whispered aloud:
“So he isn’t going to die or be an idiot. In a few years he can still be Prime Minister. And I have got him now, as sure as fate!”
Then she closed her mouth with that firm snap Arabella knew so well, and, swallowing her sleeping draught, she composed herself for a peaceful siesta.
It required all Halcyone’s fortitude to act the part of unconcern which was necessary after the post had come in and no letter for herself had arrived. The only possibility of getting through the time until she should reach London, and be able to communicate with Cheiron would, be resolutely to forbid her thoughts from turning in any speculative direction. She knew nothing but good could come to her—was she not protected from all harm by every strong force of the night winds, the beautiful stars and the God Who owned them all? Therefore it followed that this seeming disaster to her happiness must be only a temporary thing, and if she bore it calmly it would soon pass. Or, even if it delayed, there was the analogy of the winter which for more than four months of the year numbed the earth, often with weeping rain and frost, but, however severe it should be, there was always the tender springtime following, and glorious summer, and then the fulfillment of autumn and its fruits. So she must not be cast down—she must have faith and not tremble.
She made herself converse gently with her stepfather’s wife, and won her liking before they reached Paddington station. If she had not been so highly strung and preoccupied, she would have been thrilled in all her fine senses at the idea of leaving Upminster, further than which she had never been for the twelve long years of her residence at La Sarthe Chase; but now, except that all appeared a wild rush and a bewildering noise, the journey to London made no impression upon her. It was swallowed up in the one longing to get there—to be able somehow to communicate with Cheiron, and have her anxiety laid to rest.
The newsboys were selling the evening papers when they arrived, but her eyes, so unaccustomed to all these new sights, did not warn her to scan the headlines, though as they were reaching Grosvenor Gardens where Mr. Anderton’s town-house was situated, she did see the words: “Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.” The sheet had fallen forward and only this line was visible.
They did not strike her very forcibly. She was quite unacquainted with the custom of advertising sensational news in London. It might be the usual political announcements—it surely was, since she saw another sheet as they got to the door with “Crisis in the Cabinet” upon it. And it comforted her greatly. John, of course, was concerned with this, and had been summoned back suddenly, having had no possible time to let her know. He who was so true an Englishman must think of his country first. It seemed like an answer to her prayers, and enabled her to go in and greet her stepfather with calm and quiet.