He could refuse her nothing. Jeffrey might feel aggrieved when he knew. But after all—this was their own affair. Time enough afterwards to let in the world and its thronging notes of exclamation.
Roy was told when he came home. For imparting such intimate news, she craved the response of his living self. And if Nevil’s satisfaction struck a deeper note, it was simply that Roy was very young and had always included her Hindu-ness in the natural order of things.
Wonderful days! Preparing the children, with Helen’s help; preparing herself, in the quiet of her “House of Gods”—a tiny room above the studio—in much the same spirit as she had prepared for the great consecration of marriage, with vigil and meditation and unobtrusive fasting—noted by Nevil, though he said no word.
Crowning wonder of all, that golden Easter morning of her first Communion with Roy and Tara, with Nevil and Helen:—unfolding of heart and spirit, of leaf and blossom; dual miracle of a world new made....
“Youth is lifted
on Wings of his strong hope and soaring valour;
for his thoughts are above riches.”—PINDAR.
Oxford on a clear, still evening of June: silver reaches of Isis and Cher; meadows pied with moon daisies and clover, and the rose madder bloom of ripe grasses; the trill of unseen birds tuning up for evensong; the passing and repassing of boats and canoes and punts, gay with cushions and summer frocks; all bathed in the level radiance that steals over earth like a presence in the last hours of a summer day....
Oxford—shrine of the oldest creeds and the newest fads—given over, for one hilarious week, to the yearly invasion of mothers and sisters and cousins, and girls that were neither; especially girls that were neither....
Two of the punts, clearly containing one party, kept close enough together for the occupants to exchange sallies of wit, or any blissful foolishness in keeping with the blissfully foolish mood of a moonlight picnic up the river in ‘Commem.’
Roy Sinclair’s party boasted the distinction of including one mother, Lady Despard; and one grandfather, Cuthbert Broome; and Roy himself—a slender, virile figure in flannels, and New College tie—was poling the first punt.
As in boyhood, so now, his bearing and features were Nevil incarnate. But to the shrewd eye of Broome the last seemed subtly overlaid with the spirit of the East—a brooding stillness wrought from the clash of opposing forces within. When he laughed and talked it vanished. When he fell silent, and drifted away from his surroundings, it reappeared.