“That you, Allegro? Come in!” she called. “I’ve had the oddest night.”
Olga slipped in and went to her. The beautiful eyes were very wide open. They gazed up at her wonderingly. The forehead above them was slightly drawn.
“I’ve been dead,” said Violet slowly. “I’ve just come to life.”
“My darling!” Olga said.
“Yes. Isn’t it queer? It was so strange, Allegro. I went right up to the very door of Paradise. But I suffered a lot first. I suffered—horribly. And when I got there—the door was shut in my face.” Violet uttered a curious little laugh that had in it a note of pain. “That was when I died,” she said.
Olga stooped to kiss her. “It was a dream,” she said.
“Oh, but it wasn’t,” said Violet. She threw her arms unexpectedly around Olga’s neck, and held her very tightly, as if she were afraid. “Allegro,” she said under her breath, “I believe I left my soul behind. It’s up there, waiting for the door to open. I hope it won’t get lost.”
The words sent a sharp chill through Olga. She held her friend closely, protectingly. “Darling, I don’t think you are quite awake yet,” she said very tenderly. “Stay in bed for a little while, and I’ll dress and get your breakfast.”
“Oh, no! Oh, no! I’m going to get up!” Quickly Violet made reply, almost feverishly. “I couldn’t possibly lie still and do nothing. I’ve got to find the way out. It’s very dark, but I daresay I shall manage. Blind people learn to, don’t they? And that’s what has happened to me, really. I’ve gone blind, Allegro, blind inside.”
She put Olga from her, and prepared to rise. Her eyes were very bright, but there was a curiously furtive look about them. They seemed afraid to look.
“Wait anyhow till you have had some tea,” urged Olga. “I’ll run down and order it.”
“No, don’t go, Allegro! Don’t leave me! I don’t want to be alone.” Impetuously Violet stretched out her hands to her. “Don’t go!” she pleaded. “I’m so afraid—he—will come. And I don’t want him to know anything about it. You won’t tell him? Promise, Allegro!”
“Who, dear?” Olga asked the question though she knew the inevitable answer. She was becoming seriously uneasy, though she sought to reassure herself with the thought that Violet’s nerves were of the high-strung order and could scarcely have failed to suffer from the strain they had undergone.
Violet answered her with obvious impatience. “Why, Max, of course! Who else? Promise you won’t tell him, Allegro!”
“Tell him what, dear?” questioned Olga.
Violet started up from her bed and sprang to the open door. She closed it and stood facing Olga with arms outstretched across it. Her breath came pantingly through dilated nostrils.