“If you refuse, friend Anthony, I fear you will find yourself in danger, and that not in a good or holy cause. For if Master Garret and your comrades are willing to make a small sacrifice of pride, and do a small penance to satisfy the bishop, who is in some sort your lawful ruler in the church, so that peace and amity may be restored, and hatred and variance banished from our university, it were an ungracious act that you should refuse to join with them, for they have sought by patience and kindliness to restore you to your places; and surely it cannot be God’s will that you should hold back for this small scruple, and remain cut off from His church by excommunication, as must surely be if you will not be advised and humble yourself thus.”
“What would Freda bid me do?” suddenly asked Anthony, who was much agitated.
Arthur was thankful that he did not ask a question about Clarke. The young man was doing his utmost to win his friend, and had been reared in a school where it was lawful to do evil for the sake of the good which should follow. But he did not wish to be driven to falsehood, and it was with relief that he heard this question.
“When Freda came to see you she bid you live—live for her sake,” he answered, without hesitation. “Let me leave that word with you—live for her sake. Do not fling away your life recklessly. She has begged that you will live. Therefore, for love of her, if for no other reason, make this submission—be reconciled, and live.”
Anthony’s face was working; he was greatly moved; the tears rained down his cheeks. But at last he seized Arthur’s hands in his, and cried:
“I will! I will! God forgive me if I judge amiss; but for her sake I will do it, and live.”
Chapter XV: The Fire At Carfax
“Magda, I want my reward.”
She raised her eyes to his face, a deep flush suffused her cheek, and then faded, leaving her somewhat paler than before.
“Thy reward, Arthur? And what is that?”
“Nothing less than thyself, my beloved,” he answered, with a passionate tenderness. “I have thy heart, thy love; these have been enough this long while. Now I want thee, thine own self. Why should we wait longer? Art thou not ready to give thyself to me—now?”
She let her lover draw her close to his side. She looked up at him, and saw that his face was grave and pale. This gravity had grown upon him of late, and she saw that lines of anxiety had begun to appear on his brow, which had not been there six months ago. Her woman’s instinct of seeking to comfort and support came instantly to her help.
“I will do all that thou dost wish of me, Arthur. If thou hast some trouble, let me share it. A wife should be the helpmeet of her husband in all things. If I am soon to be that, let me begin mine office now.”
He bent his head and kissed her, and drawing her hand through his arm, began pacing to and fro in the budding nut walk, where the tender flickering green of early springtide was shimmering in the golden sunlight.