“You see,” Tara added softly. “There wouldn’t have been ... the deeps. And it takes the deeps to make you realise the heights——”
* * * * *
Lost in one another—in the wonder of mutual self-revealing—they were lost, no less, to impertinent trivialities of place and time; till the very trivial pang of hunger reminded Roy that he had been wandering for hours without food.
“Tara—it’s a come down—but I’m fairly starving!” he cried suddenly—and consulted his watch. “Nine o’clock. The wretch I am! Dad’s final remark was, ‘Sure as a gun, you’ll be late for breakfast.’ And it seemed impossible. But sure as guns we will be! Put on the precious hat. We must jolly well run for it.”
And taking hands, like a pair of children, they ran....
CHAPTER THE LAST.
“Who shall allot
the praise, and guess
What part is yours—what part is ours?”
“Perhaps a dreamer’s
day will come ... when judgment will be
pronounced on all the wise men, who always prophesied evil—and
were always right.”—JOHAN BOJER.
Two hours later Roy and his father sat together in the cushioned window seat of the studio, smoking industriously; not troubling to say much—though there was much to be said—because the mist of constraint that brooded between them yesterday had been blown clean away by Roy’s news.
If it had not given Sir Nevil ‘the surprise of his life,’ it had given him the deepest, most abiding gratification he had known since his inner light had gone out, with the passing of her who had been his inspiration and his all. Dear though his children were to him, they had remained secondary, always. Roy came nearest—as his heir, and as the one in whom her spirit most clearly lived again. Since she went, he had longed for the boy; but remembering her plea on that summer day of decision—her mountain-top of philosophy, ’to take by leaving, to hold by letting go’—he had studiously refrained from pressing Roy’s return. Now, at a word from Tara, he had sped home in the hot season; and—hard on the heels of a mysteriously broken engagement—had claimed her at sight.
Yesterday their sense of strangeness had made silence feel uncomfortable. Now that they slipped back into the old intimacy, it felt companionable. Yet neither was thinking directly of the other. Each was thinking of the woman he loved.
By chance their eyes encountered in a friendly smile, and Roy spoke.
“Daddums—you’ve come alive! I believe you’re almost as happy over it—as I am?”
“You’re not far out. You see”—his eyes grew graver—“I’m feeling ... Mother’s share, too. Did you ever realise...?”
“Partly. Not all—till just now. Tara told me.”
There was a pause. Then Sir Nevil looked full at his son.