“Ha!” said Gilian. “So you are going a-hunting for more reasons than one?—Elspeth, Elspeth! come out of it!—for Glenfernie, after all, avenges himself!”
Alexander, looking like his father, spoke slowly, with laboring breath. “Had one asked me, I should have said that you above all might understand. But you, too, betray!” With a sweep of his arms abroad, a gesture abrupt and desolate, he turned. He quitted the sunny bare space, the kirkyard and the woman sitting with her basket of marigolds and pansies.
But two nights later he came to this place alone.
The moon was full. It hung like a wonder lantern above the hill and the kirk; it made the kirkyard cloth of silver. The yews stood unreal, or with a delicate, other reality. It was neither warm nor cold. The moving air neither struck nor caressed, but there breathed a sense of coming and going, unhurried and unperplexed, from far away to far away. The laird of Glenfernie crossed long grass to where, for a hundred years, had been laid the dead from White Farm. There was a mound bare to the sunlight thrown from the moon. He saw the flowers that Gilian had brought.
The flowers were colorless in the moonlight—and yet they could be, and were, clothed with a hue of anger from himself. They lay before him purple-crimson. They were withered, but suddenly they had sap, life, fullness—but a distasteful, reminding life, a life in opposition! He took them and threw them away.
Now the mound rested bare. He lay down beside it. He stretched his arms over it. “Elspeth!”—and “Elspeth!”—and “Elspeth!” But Elspeth did not answer—only the cool sunlight thrown back from the moon.
Ian traveled toward a pass through the Pyrenees. Behind him stretched difficult, hazardous, slow travel—weeks of it. Behind those weeks lay the voyage to Lisbon, and from Lisbon in a second boat north to Vigo. From Vigo to this day of forested slopes and brawling streams, steadily worsening road, ruder dwellings, more primitive, impoverished folk, rolled a time of difficulties small and great, like the mountain pebbles for number. It took will and wit at strain to dissolve them all, and so make way out of Spain into France—through France—to Paris, where were friends.
Spanish travel was difficult at best—Spanish travel with scarcely any gold to travel on found the “best” quite winnowed out. Slow at all times, it grew, lacking money, to be like one of those dreams of retardation. Ian gathered and blew upon his philosophy, and took matters at last with some amusement, at times, even, with a sense of the enjoyable.