“I’d rather think of my man on the sea, even if I had to wait for him, Ducky, than shut up in office, stagnating.”
The door-bell rang suddenly. It was a dreadful night for any one to be out, but Anita, undisturbed and crisp in her white apron and cap, came through the hall. A voice asked a question, and the blood began to pound in my body. Things were blurred for a bit, and when my vision cleared—I saw Olaf in the shine of the candles in the room beyond, with Nancy crushed to him, his bright head bent, the sheer blue of her frock infolding him—the archway of the door framing them like the figures of saints in the stained glass of a church window!
I knew then that I had lost her. But she did not yield at once.
“I love him, of course. But a woman couldn’t do a thing like that,” was the way she put it to me the next morning.
I felt, however, that Olaf would master her. Will was set against will, mind against mind. And at last she showed him the way. “A thousand years ago you would have carried me off.”
I can see him now as he caught the idea and laughed at her. “Whether you go of your own accord or I carry you, you will be happy.” He lifted her in his strong hands as if she were a feather, held her, kissed her, and flashed a glance at me. “You see how easy it would be, and there’s a chaplain on board.”
There is not much more to tell. Nancy went down one morning to the beach for her bath—and the fog swallowed her up. I have often wondered whether she planned it, or whether, knowing that she would be there, he had come in his launch and had borne her away struggling, but not, I am sure, unwilling. However it happened, the cloak went with her, and I like to think that she was held in his arms, wrapped in it, when they reached the ship.
I like to think, too, of my Nancy in the glowing room with the wolfskins and the strange old tapestry—and the storms beating helpless against her happiness.
I like to think of her as safe in that hidden land, where most of us fain would follow her—the mistress of that guarded mansion, the wife of a young sea god, the mother of a new race.
But, most of all, I like to think of the children. And I have but one wish for a long life, which might otherwise weigh upon me, that the years may bring back to the world those prophets from a hidden land, those young voices crying from the wilderness—the children of Olaf and of Nancy Greer.
A woman, who under sentence of death could plan immediately for a trip to the circus, might seem at first thought incredibly light-minded.
You had, however, to know Anne Dunbar and the ten years of her married life to understand. Her husband was fifteen years her senior, and he had few illusions. He had fallen in love with Anne because of a certain gay youth in her which had endured throughout the days of a dreadful operation and a slow convalescence. He had been her surgeon, and, propped up in bed, Anne’s gray eyes had shone upon him, the red-gold curls of her cropped hair had given her a look of almost boyish beauty, and this note of boyishness had been emphasized by the straight slenderness of the figure outlined beneath the white covers.