For a time my thoughts flickered capriciously over the astonishing events of my adventurous week-end. I was pleasantly replete with experience. In all my life I had never before entered thus completely into any of the great movements of life. I recalled my first thrills of anticipation amidst the glowing, excited youth of the resting dancers at the Hall. We had been impatient for further expression. The dragging departure of the Sturtons had been an unbearable check upon the exuberance of our desires. In my thought of the scene I could see the unspent spirit of our vitality streaming up in a fierce fount of energy.
And with me, at least, that fount, unexpectedly penned by the first hints of disaster, had still played furiously in my mind as I had walked with Frank Jervaise through the wood. My intoxicated imagination had created its own setting. I had gone, exalted, to meet my wonderful fate. Through some strange scene of my own making I had strayed to the very feet of enduring romance.
But after that exciting prelude, when the moon had set and slow dawn, like a lifting curtain, had been drawn to reveal the landscape of a world outside the little chamber of my own being, I had been cast from my heights of exaltation into a gloomy pit of disgrace. Fate, with a fastidious particularity, had hauled me back to the things of everyday. I was not to be allowed to dream too long. I was wanted to play my part in this sudden tragedy of experience.
My thought went off at a tangent when I reached that point of my reflection. I had found myself involved in the Banks’s drama, but what hope had I of ever seeing them again after the next day? What, moreover, was the great thing I was called upon to do? I had decided only an hour or two before that my old way of life had become impossible for me, but equally impossible was any way of life that did not include the presence of Anne.
I looked at my watch, and found that it was after ten o’clock, but how long I had been standing at the gate, I had no idea; whether an hour or ten minutes. I had been dreaming again, lost in imaginative delights; until the reminder of this new urgency had brought me back to a reality that demanded from me an energy of participation and of initiative.
I wished that Anne would come—and by way of helping her should she, indeed, have come out to look for me, I strolled back to the Farm, and then round to the front of the house.
The windows of the sitting-room had been closed but the blinds were not drawn. The lamp had been lit and splayed weak fans of yellow light on to the gravel, and the flower-beds of the grass plot. The path of each beam was picked out from the diffused radiance of the moonlight, by the dancing figures of the moths that gathered and fluttered across the prisms of these enchanted rays. But I did not approach the windows. In the stillness of the night I could hear Anne’s clear musical voice. She was still there in the sitting-room, still soothing and persuading her father. Her actual words were indistinguishable, but the modulations of her tone seemed to convey the sense of her speech, as a melody may convey the ideas of form and colour.