I remember distinctly the day when the yacht first anchored within the Point. It was a Sunday morning and Nancy and I had climbed to the top of the house to the Captain’s Walk, the white-railed square on the roof which gave a view of the harbor and of the sea.
Nancy was twenty-five, slim and graceful. She wore that morning a short gray-velvet coat over white linen. Her thick brown hair was gathered into a low knot and her fine white skin had a touch of artificial color. Her eyes were a clear blue. She was really very lovely, but I felt that the gray coat deadened her—that if she had not worn it she would not have needed that touch of color in her cheeks.
She lighted a cigarette and stood looking off, with her hand on the rail. “It is a heavenly morning, Ducky. And you are going to church?”
I smiled at her and said, “Yes.”
Nancy did not go to church. She practiced an easy tolerance. Her people had been, originally, Quakers. In later years they had turned to Unitarianism. And now in this generation, Nancy, as well as Anthony Peak, had thrown off the shackles of religious observance.
“But it is worth having the churches just for the bells,” Nancy conceded on Sunday mornings when their music rang out from belfry and tower.
It was worth having the churches for more than the bells. But it was useless to argue with Nancy. Her morals and Anthony’s were irreproachable. That is, from the modern point of view. They played cards for small stakes, drank when they pleased, and, as I have indicated, Nancy smoked. She was, also, not unkissed when Anthony asked her to marry him. These were not the ideals of my girlhood, but Anthony and Nancy felt that such small vices as they cultivated saved them from the narrow-mindedness of their forebears.
“Anthony and I are going for a walk,” she said. “I will bring you some flowers for your bowls, Elizabeth.”
It was just then that the yacht steamed into the harbor—majestically, like a slow-moving swan. I picked out the name with my sea-glasses, The Viking.
I handed the glasses to Nancy. “Never heard of it,” she said. “Did you?”
“No,” I answered. Most of the craft which came in were familiar, and I welcomed them each year.
“Some new-rich person probably,” Nancy decided. “Ducky, I have a feeling that the owner of The Viking bought it from the proceeds of pills or headache powders.”
I am not sure that Nancy and I were justified in our disdain—whale-oil has perhaps no greater claim to social distinction than bacon and ham or—pills.
The church bells were ringing, and I had to go down. Nancy stayed on the roof.
“Send Anthony up if he’s there,” she said; “we will sit here aloft like two cherubs and look down on you, and you will wish that you were with us.”
But I knew that I should not wish it; that I should be glad to walk along the shaded streets with my friends and neighbors, to pass the gardens that were yellow with sunlight, and gay with larkspur and foxglove and hollyhocks, and to sit in the pew which was mine by inheritance.