In the watches her mind had gone back and back over the long year; and she had marvelled at the tininess of turnings upon which, it was all clear now, great issues had hung. She could put her finger on time after time, last year and even this, when the smallest shifting in the course would have brought her, to-day, far otherwhere. ’Had she said that, had she done this’.... Was it all the wild caprice of Chance, then, that had no eyes? Were people so helpless, the slight sport of Luck, thistledown blowing in the winds of the gods? Ah, but she saw clearer than that. Had she not felt all along how powerfully this sequence of happening and encounter had pressed toward far other ends? And the divinity that had shaped them at last, acting and reacting and giving circumstance a soul, had been only that mysterious divinity that makes human beings what they are. There was truth in the saying that destiny is only character under its other name.
No chance here, surely, that had waked her so still and shining-eyed, such a wonder in her heart....
She had marked this day for diligent study. Last night an unknown hand had left at the door a hard-used copy of “The New Factory Idea,” by T.B. Halton. And Cally, at the end of a second long business conference with her father, had read three chapters of the absorbing work, and slept upon the resolve to devote this morning to it altogether. But she had seen at the first look of the flooding sunshine upon the shutters, that she did not feel studious at all. Let books look to themselves to-day. Her desire was to be outdoors; to be alone, and to muse awhile. Surely nobody ever had so much, so much, to think about.
However, as a daughter one wasn’t altogether free; nor yet again as a member of organized society. All day the claims of the familiar encroached upon the real world within, and thoughts, the radiant aliens, had to range themselves in as they could.
* * * * *
She was breakfasting with her father. They were to forage for luncheon to-day, these two, and spoke of it; he naming the club, she electing her cousins the Cooneys. And here was the token of the more cheerful atmosphere prevailing this morning in the house. Mrs. Heth was entertaining a lunch-party of seven ladies, her contemporaries, at two o’clock this day. True, the invitations had been issued before the crash: but the hopeful point, as even the servants were aware, was that they had not been recalled.
They were glad that mamma felt like seeing people again; and said so. And Cally then asked her father if he had any engagement for the evening.
Mr. Heth glanced at her over his “Post,” and his glance feared that he saw yet another conference advancing upon him. Yet, it was fair to say, he had not been by any means inconvincible about the new Works. Real estate was real estate, say what you would; and it might be that the violent shake-up in the family plans had made the immediate future of the business a somewhat concrete issue.