Her mood bewildered him, and, without in the least understanding why, he resented her levity. But he tried to hide it. “Of course you can,” he said lightly; “but you don’t really want to do those things, do you—especially the last, Julie?”
She stood there looking at him, and then, in a moment, the excitement died out of her voice and eyes. She dropped into a chair again. “No, Peter,” she said, “I don’t. That’s the marvel of it. I expect I shall, one of these days, do most of those things, and the last as well, but I don’t think I’ll ever want to do them again. And that’s what you’ve done to me, my dear.”
Peter was very moved. He slipped his hand out and took hers under cover of her dress. “My darling,” he whispered, “I owe you everything. You have given me all, and I won’t hold back all from you. Do you remember, Julie, that once I said I thought I loved you more than God? Well, I know now—oh yes, I believe I do know now. But I choose you, Julie.”
Her eyes shone up at him very brightly, and he could not read them altogether. But her lips whispered, and he thought he understood.
“Oh, Peter, my dearest,” she said, “thank God I have at least heard you say that. I wouldn’t have missed you saying those words for anything, Peter.”
So might the serving-girl in Pilate’s courtyard have been glad, had she been in love.
Part at least of Julie’s programme was fulfilled to the letter, for they lay long in bed talking—desultory, reminiscent talk, which sent Peter’s mind back over the months and the last few days, even after Julie was asleep in the bed next his. Like a pageant, he passed, in review scene after scene, turning it over, and wondering at significances that he had not before, imagined. He recalled their first meeting, that instantaneous attraction, and he asked himself what had caused it. Her spontaneity, freshness, and utter lack of conventionality, he supposed, but that did not seem to explain all. He wondered at the change that had even then come about in himself that he should have been so entranced by her, He went over his early hopes and fears; he thought again of conversations with Langton; and he realised afresh how true it was that the old authorities had dwindled away; that no allegiance had been left; that his had been a citadel without a master. And then Julie moved through his days again—Julie at Caudebec, daring, iconoclastic, free; Julie at Abbeville, mysterious, passionate, dominant; Julie at Dieppe—ah, Julie at Dieppe! He marvelled that he had held out so long after Dieppe, and then Louise rose before him. He understood Louise less than Julie, perhaps, and with all the threads in his hand he failed to see the pattern. He turned over restlessly. It was easy to see how they had come to be in London; it would have been more remarkable if they had not so come together; but now, what now? He could