But had not Zora, in the magnificence of her strong womanhood, in the hunger of her great soul, to find somewhere in the world a Mission in Life, a fulness of existence which would accomplish her destiny? Down with the insane little devil and all his potential works! Zora laughed and recovered her serenity. Cousin Jane, who had had much to write concerning the elopement, was summoned, and Zora, with infinite baggage in the care of Turner, set sail for California.
The New World lay before her with its chances of real, quivering, human Life. Nunsmere, where nothing ever happened, lay behind her. She smiled graciously at Sypher, who saw her off at Waterloo, and said nice things to him about the Cure, but before her eyes danced a mirage in which Clem Sypher and his Cure were not visible. The train steamed out of the station. Sypher stood on the edge of the platform and watched the end buffers until they were out of sight; then he turned and strode away, and his face was that of a man stricken with great loneliness.
It never occurred to Septimus that he had done a quixotic thing in marrying Emmy, any more than to pat himself on the back for a monstrously clever fellow when he had completed a new invention. At the door of the Registry Office he took off his hat, held out his hand, and said good-by.
“But where are you going?” Emmy asked in dismay.
Septimus didn’t know. He waved his hand vaguely over London, and said, “Anywhere.”
Emmy began to cry. She had passed most of the morning in tears. She felt doubly guilty now that she had accepted the sacrifice of his life; an awful sense of loneliness also overwhelmed her.
“I didn’t know that you hated me like that,” she said.
“Good heavens!” he cried in horror. “I don’t hate you. I only thought you had no further use for me.”
“And I’m to be left alone in the street?”
“I’ll drive you anywhere you like,” said he.
“And then get rid of me as soon as possible? Oh! I know what you must be feeling.”
Septimus put his hand under her arm, and led her away, in great distress.
“I thought you wouldn’t be able to bear the sight of me.”
“Oh, don’t be silly!” said Emmy.
Her adjuration was on a higher plane of sentiment than expression. It comforted Septimus.
“What would you like me to do?”
“Anything except leave me to myself—at any rate for the present. Don’t you see, I’ve only you in the world to look to.”
“God bless my soul,” said he, “I suppose that’s so. It’s very alarming. No one has ever looked to me in all my life. I’d wander barefoot for you all over the earth. But couldn’t you find somebody else who’s more used to looking after people? It’s for your own sake entirely,” he hastened to assure her.
“I know,” she said. “But you see it’s impossible for me to go to any of my friends, especially after what has happened.” She held out her ungloved left hand. “How could I explain?”