The priest stood up and put his hand on Mark’s shoulder. “Do you mean that, my boy?”
“I do,” replied Mark. “I told you in Washington that I never passed an open church door that my mind did not conjure up a beckoning hand behind it, and that I knew that some day I should see my mother’s face behind the hand. I have seen the face. It was imagination, perhaps—in fact, I know it must have been—but it was mother’s face—and I am coming home.”
The last words were spoken softly, reverently, and together the priest and the penitent entered the church.
Late that afternoon Mark sat alone in the great library at Killimaga, his head thrown back, his hands grasping the top of his chair. His thoughts were of the future, and he did not hear the light footsteps behind him. Then—two soft arms stole lightly around his neck, and Ruth’s beautiful head was bowed until her lips touched his forehead. It was a kiss of benediction, speaking of things too holy for words.
He covered her hands with his own. “Ruth.” The tones breathed a world of love.
“I am so happy,” she murmured.
He started to rise, but one small hand, escaping from his grasp, rested on his head and held him firmly.
“I have a great deal to tell you, Mark. But first I want you to know how happy I am that you have come back to Mother Church. I have been praying so hard, Mark, and I should have been miserable had you refused to return. Our union would never have been perfect without full harmony of thought, and we might have drifted apart. But I am happy now.” Lightly her fingers stroked his brow and twined among his curls.
He arose and, clasping her hands in both his own, he gazed down into her eyes.
“And I too am happy, dear one. You have brought me two blessings: I have found not only love, but peace at last after many years.” Tenderly he raised her hands to his lips. “But come, dear; it is too glorious a day to remain in the house. Shall we go outside?”
It was but a moment till she returned ready for a walk, and together they sauntered toward the bluff, where she seated herself on a great rock. Sitting at her feet, his head resting against the rock, his hand raised to clasp hers, he was content. For a while they sat in silence, gazing far out over the sea into the glory of the sunset. At last she loosed her hand from his grasp and rested it lightly on his head.
“Mark, dear, you know that there are to be no secrets between us two now, don’t you?”
He looked up and answered promptly. “Not one—not a single one, for all the days of the future, my darling. But,” he added, “I have none that are unrevealed.”
“I am not so fortunate, dear. I have a great one, and now I am going to tell it all to you.”