“It depends on Ian, does it not?”
“Yes.... Now you speak as Gilian and now you speak as Elspeth.”
“That is the marvel of the world.... That Person whom we call Being has also a long name.—My name, her name, your name, his name, its name, all names! Side by side, one over another, one through another.... Who comes out but just that Person?”
They sat and watched the orb that itself, with its members the planets, went a great journey. Gilian began to talk about Elspeth. She talked with quietness, with depth, insight, and love, sitting there on the golden moor. Elspeth—childhood and girlhood and womanhood. The sister of Elspeth spoke simply, but the sifted words came from a poet’s granary. She made pictures, she made melodies for Alexander. Glints of vision, fugitive strains of music, echoes of a quaint and subtle mirth, something elemental, faylike—that was Elspeth. And lightning in the south in summer, just shown, swiftly withdrawn—power and passion—sudden similitudes with great love-women of old story—that also was Elspeth. And a crying and calling for the Star that gathers all stars—that likewise was Elspeth. Such and such did Elspeth show herself to Gilian. And that half-year that they knew about of grief and madness—it was not scanted nor its misery denied! It, too, was, or had been, of Elspeth. Deep through ages, again and again, something like that might have worked forth. But it was not all nor most of that nature—had not been and would not be—would not be—would not be. The sister of Elspeth spoke with pure, convinced passion as to that. Who denied the dark? There were the dark and the light, and the million million tones of each! And there was the eternal space where differences trembled into harmony.
With the sunset they moved over the great, clean slope to where it ran down to fields and trees. Before them was White Farm, below them the glistening stream, coral and gold between and around the stepping-stones. They parted here, Gilian going on to the house, the laird turning again over the moor.
He passed the village; he came by the white kirk and the yew-trees and the kirkyard. All were lifted upon the hilltop, all wore the color of sunset and the color of dawn. The laird of Glenfernie moved beside the kirkyard wall. He seemed to hold in his hand marigolds, pinks, and pansies. He saw a green mound, and he seemed to put the flowers there, out of old custom and tenderness. But no longer did he feel that Elspeth was beneath the mound. A wide tapering cloud, golden-feathered, like a wing of glory, stretched half across the sky. He looked at it; he looked at that in which it rested. His lips moved, he spoke aloud.
“O Death! where is thy sting? O grave! where is thy victory?”