Towards noon the old doctor came back from his morning rounds, and I noticed that his voice was pitched higher too. We never once spoke about the great news, the great event, while we sat at table; but I could not help noticing that we were all talking loud and fast and on the top of each other, as if some dark cloud which had hovered over our household had suddenly slid away.
After luncheon, nurse being back with baby, I went out for a walk alone, feeling wonderfully well and light, and having two hours to wait for Martin, who must be still pondering over his papers at the “Plough.”
How beautiful was the day! How blue the sky! How bright the earth! How joyous the air—so sweet and so full of song-birds!
I remember that I thought life had been so good to me that I ought to be good to everybody else—especially to my father, from whom it seemed wrong for a daughter to be estranged, whatever he was and whatever he had done to her.
So I turned my face towards my poor grandmother’s restored cottage on the curragh, fully determined to be reconciled to my father; and I only slackened my steps and gave up my purpose when I began to think of Nessy MacLeod and how difficult (perhaps impossible) it might be to reach him.
Even then I faced about for a moment to the Big House with some vain idea of making peace with Aunt Bridget and then slipping upstairs to my mother’s room—having such a sense of joyous purity that I wished to breathe the sacred air my blessed saint had lived in.
But the end of it all was that I found myself on the steps of the Presbytery, feeling breathlessly happy, and telling myself, with a little access of pride in my own gratitude, that it was only right and proper that I should bring my happiness where I had so often brought my sorrow—to the dear priest who had been my friend since the day of my birth and my darling mother’s friend before.
Poor old Father Dan! How good I was going to be to him!
A few minutes afterwards I was tripping upstairs (love and hope work wonderful miracles!) behind the Father’s Irish housekeeper, Mrs. Cassidy, who was telling me how well I was looking ("smart and well extraordinary"), asking if it “was on my two feet I had walked all the way,” and denouncing the “omathauns” who had been “after telling her there wasn’t the width of a wall itself betune me and the churchyard.”
I found Father Dan in his cosy study lined with books; and being so much wrapped up in my own impetuous happiness I did not see at first that he was confused and nervous, or remember until next day that, though (at the sound of my voice from the landing) he cried “Come in, my child, come in,” he was standing with his back to the door as I entered—hiding something (it must have been a newspaper) under the loose seat of his easy-chair.