The time and place were fitting and Phoebe was summoning her visions—and facing her realities. Down the years came sauntering the nonchalant figure of David Kildare. He had asked her to marry him that awful, lonely, sixteenth birthday and he had asked her the same thing every year of all the succeeding ten—and a number of times in between. Phoebe squared herself to her reviewing self and admitted that she had cared for him then and ever since—cared for him, but had starved his tenderness and in the lover had left unsought the man. But she was clear-sighted enough to know that the handsome easy-going boy, who had wooed with a smile and taken rebuff with a laugh, was not the steady-eyed forceful man who now faced her. He stood at the door of a life that stretched away into long vistas, and now he would demand. Phoebe bowed her head on her hands—suppose he should not demand!
And so in the watches of the night the siege was raised and Phoebe, the dauntless, brilliant, arrogant Phoebe had capitulated. No love-lorn woman of the ages ever palpitated more thoroughly at the thought of her lover than did she as she kept vigil with David across the city.
But there were articles of capitulation yet to be signed and the ceremony of surrender to come.
ACROSS THE MANY WATERS
And the day of the election arrived next morning and brought cold clouds shot through with occasional gleams of pale sunshine, only to be followed by light but threatening flurries of snow.
All through the Sunday night David had sat over in the editorial rooms of the Journal beside Andrew Sevier, talking, writing and sometimes silent with unexpressed sympathy, for as the last sheets of his editorial work slipped through his fingers Andrew grew white and austere. Once for a half-hour they talked about his business affairs and he turned over a bundle of papers to David and discussed the investment of the money that had come from his heavy royalties for the play now running, and the thousands paid in advance for the new drama.
As David ran carefully through them to see that they were in order for him to handle, Andrew turned to his desk and wrote rapidly for some minutes, then sealed a letter and laid it aside. After he had read the last batch of proof from the composing-room he turned to David and with a quiet look handed him the letter which was directed to Caroline Darrah.
“If she ever finds out give her this letter, please. It will make her understand why I go, I hope. I can’t talk to you about it but I want to ask you, man to man, to look after her. Dave, I leave her to your care—and Phoebe’s.” And his rich voice was composed into an utter sadness.
“The work here and the night are both over, let’s go down to headquarters,” he added, and like two boys, with hands tight gripped, they passed out into the winter street.