And Margaret had said, “Yes, dear, go. You’ll be a great comfort to him. I am very very sorry for him.”
The last flicker of the waving handkerchiefs above the sea-wall, and their responsive wavings from the boat, had been abruptly cut by the intervening bastion of Les Laches, but Charles Svendt still leaned with his arms on the rail and looked back as though he could pierce the granite cliff and see the girls still standing there, and Graeme stood patiently behind him.
He straightened up at last with a sigh.
“I’m glad I came,” he said, “though if I’d had any idea what was going to happen I’d have drowned myself first. It’s when one’s in trouble”—as though this were a discovery of his own—“that one finds out how kind people can be.”
“Yes, trouble has its uses. I had a deuce of a time for the first few weeks after I got here. Your dad had told me you and Margaret were to be married very shortly, and it knocked life into a cocked-hat for me—”
“That’s what he would have liked. Do you know, Graeme, I’ve been thinking that it’s just possible your marriage helped to precipitate matters with him. I don’t know, of course; but if he has been juggling her money in any way, he may have been counting on a marriage between us to help straighten things. Then, when he heard nothing from me—”
“It’s possible. But if it acted as quickly as all that, I’m afraid the chances for Margaret’s portion are pretty small.”
“Gad! That would hurt me more than anything. I shall do everything in my power—”
“I’m sure of it, my dear fellow. And you must understand that her money—whatever it is—has never entered into our calculations in any way. I knew nothing of it till Lady Elspeth Gordon told me, and I had it all settled on her before the wedding took place. If it is gone we can do without it.”
And Charles Svendt, if he said nothing, thought all the more.
The two girls were standing in the outermost seaward corner of the breakwater, as though they had never moved, when the Assistance came nosing round Les Laches next morning, and made for the harbour. And to Graeme, the sight of his wife, after a separation of eighteen hours, was like a life-giving stream to a pilgrim of the desert, or the blessing of light to a darkened soul. His heart swelled almost to paining-point for very joy of her. He took deep breaths of gratitude for this sweet crowning of his life. He wondered vaguely why he should be so blest above all other men. He vowed his vows again and his eyes were misty.
They saw him standing by the captain, and waved glad welcomes, and presently, his glimpse into the depths of Margaret’s eyes as he kissed her, told him that he had been missed even as he had missed.
“I am glad I went with him,” he said, as they climbed the steep Creux Road. “It did him good to talk. He’s feeling it terribly.”