He could utter no other prayer.
Morning found both master and servant, now servant and master, before the altar where both were servants.
It was fifteen years later when the brethren of the little Community of San Ambrogio gathered in their chapel to sing the requiem over their founder and first General, Father Denfili, who died, old and blind, after twenty years of retirement into obscurity. But there were more than his brethren there. For all those years he had occupied, day after day, the solitude of a little confessional in the chapel. He had had his penitents there, and, in a general way, the brethren of San Ambrogio knew that there were among them many distinguished ones; but they were not prepared for the revelation that his obsequies gave them. Cardinals, Roman nobles, soldiers, prelates, priests and citizens crowded into the little chapel. They were those who had knelt week after week at the feet of the saint.
But there was one penitent, greater than them all in dignity and sanctity, who could not come. The tears blinded him that morning when he said Mass in his own chapel at the Vatican for the soul of Father Denfili. At the hour of the requiem he looked longingly toward Via Paoli, where his old spiritual father was lying dead before the altar of the cloister chapel; and the tears came again into eyes that needed all their vision to gaze far out, from his watch-tower, on the City and the World.
It was already midnight when Orville, Thornton and Callovan arose from a table of the club dining-room and came down in the elevator for their hats and coats. They had spent an evening together, delightful to all three. This dinner and chat had become an annual affair, to give the old chums of St. Wilbur’s a chance to live over college days, and keep a fine friendship bright and lasting. Not one of them was old enough to feel much change from the spirit of youth. St. Wilbur’s was a fresh memory and a pleasant one; and no friends of business or society had grown half so precious for any one of these three men as were the other two, whom the old college had introduced and had bound to him.
The difference in the appearance of the friends was very marked. Thornton had kept his promise of growing up as he had started: short, fat and jovial. Baldness was beginning to show at thirty-five. His stubby mustache was as unmanageable as the masters of St. Wilbur’s had found its owner to be. He had never affected anything, for he had always been openly whatever he allowed himself to drift into. Neither of his friends liked many of his actions, nor the stories told of him; but they liked him personally and were inclined to be silently sorry for him, but not to sit in judgment upon him. Both Orville and Callovan waited and hoped for “old Thornton”; but the wait had been long and the hope very much deferred.