The doctor laughed. “Think I shall get stolen?” she demanded. “Someone would have to get up pretty early for that. No, padre, I’m past the need of being escorted, thanks. Good-night. Be good, Julie. We’ll meet again sometime, I hope. If not, keep smiling. Cheerio.”
She waved her hand and was gone in the night. “If there was ever a plucky, unselfish, rattling good woman, there she goes,” said Julie. “I’ve known her sit up night after night with wounded men when she was working like a horse all day. I’ve known her to help a drunken Tommy into a cab and get him home, and quiet his wife into the bargain. I saw her once walk off out of the Monico with a boy of a subaltern, who didn’t know what he was doing, and take him to her own flat, and put him to bed, and get him on to the leave-train in time in the morning. She’d give away her last penny, and you wouldn’t know she’d done it. And yet she’s not the sort of woman you’d choose to run a mother’s meeting, would you, Solomon?”
“Sure thing I wouldn’t,” said Peter, “not in my old parish, but I’m not so sure I wouldn’t in my new one.”
“What’s your new one?” asked Julie curiously.
“Oh, it hasn’t a name,” said Peter, “but it’s pretty big. Something after the style of John Wesley’s parish, I reckon. And I’m gradually getting it sized up.”
“Where do I come in, Solomon?” demanded Julie.
They were passing by the big Calvary at the harbour gates, and there was a light there. He stopped and turned so that the light fell on her. She looked up at him, and so they stood a minute. He could hear the lash of the waves, and the wind drumming in the rigging of the flagstaff near them. Then, deliberately, he bent down, and kissed her on the lips. “I don’t know, Julie,” he said, “but I believe you have the biggest part, somehow.”
All that it is necessary to know of Hilda’s return letter to Peter ran as follows:
“My Dear Boy,
“Your letter from Abbeville reached me the day before yesterday, and I have thought about nothing else since. It is plain to me that it is no use arguing with you and no good reproaching you, for once you get an idea into your head nothing but bitter experience will drive it out. But, Peter, you must see that so far as I am concerned you are asking me to choose between you and your strange ideas and all that is familiar and dear in my life. You can’t honestly expect me to believe that my Church and my parents and my teachers are all wrong, and that, to put it mildly, the very strange people you appear to be meeting in France are all right. My dear Peter, do try and look at it sensibly. The story you told me of the death of Lieutenant Jenks was terrible—terrible; it brings the war home in all its ghastly reality; but really, you know, it was his fault and not yours, and still less the fault of the Church of England,