My poor old priest is such a child! A good old man is always a child—a woman can see through and through him.
Ah, me! I am cared for now as I never was before, yet I feel like baby when she is tired after walking round the chairs and comes to be nursed. What children we all are at the end—just children!
* * * * *
AUGUST 4. Father Dan came across, in breathless excitement to-day. It seems the poor soul has been living in daily dread of some sort of censure from Rome through his Bishop—about his toleration of me, I suppose—but behold! it’s the Bishop himself who has suffered censure, having been sent into quarantine at one of the Roman Colleges and forbidden to return to his diocese.
And now, lo! a large sum of money comes from Rome for the poor of Ellan, to be distributed by Father Dan!
I think I know whose money it is that has been returned; but the dear Father suspects nothing, and is full of a great scheme for a general thanksgiving, with a procession of our village people to old St. Mary’s and then Rosary and Benediction.
It is to come off on the afternoon of the tenth, it seems, my last day in Ellan, after my marriage, but before my departure.
How God governs everything!
* * * * *
AUGUST 6. It is really wrong of me to allow Martin to go on. This morning he told me he had bought the special license for our marriage, and this evening he showed me our tickets for Sydney—two berths, first cabin, steadiest part of the ship. Oh, my dear heart, if you only knew that I have had my ticket these many days, and that it is to take me out first on the Great Expedition—to the still bigger Unknown, the Everlasting Sea, the Immeasurable Eternity!
I must be brave. Although I am a little cowardly sometimes, I can be brave.
I have definitely decided to-night that I will tell him. But how can I look into his face and say. . . .
* * * * *
AUGUST 7. I have made up my mind to write to Martin. One can say things so much easier in a letter—I can, anyway. Even my voice affects me—swelling and falling when I am moved, like a billow on the ocean.
I find my writing cannot any longer be done in a sitting position in bed, but I can prop my book on my breast and write lying down.
MARY O’NEILL’S LETTER TO MARTIN CONRAD
August 9th, 6 A.M.
MY OWN DARLING,—Strengthen yourself for what I am going to say. It will be very hard for you—I know that, dear.
To-morrow we were to have gone to the High Bailiff; this day week we were to have sailed for Sydney, and two months hence we were to have reached Winter Quarters.
But I cannot go with you to the High Bailiff’s; I cannot go with you to Sydney; I cannot go with you to Winter Quarters; I cannot go anywhere from here. It is impossible, quite impossible.