“I must go now,” he said. “We both need sleep. I was up late last night, and so must go home early to get a good rest. You had better do the same.”
“I don’t want to sleep,” David emphatically replied. “My mind is too much upset to rest. But if you must go let me walk a short way with you. Perhaps the cool night air will refresh me. Wait a moment until I put on my coat and hat. Betty will be angry if I go without them.”
Then he suddenly paused and caught Jasper fiercely by the arm.
“Do you hear them?” he asked. “Listen,” and he held up his right hand.
In the old man’s eyes had come a peculiar light, and his manner reminded Jasper of the first night he had met him on the road when he had rescued him from the speeding auto.
“Do you hear them?” David repeated. “My beautiful falls, my beautiful falls. What sweeter music than the sound of your rushing water. People have been deaf to your luring voice. I alone have listened and understood. They called me a fool and said I was crazy, ha, ha! But they know better now. They have seen what my beautiful falls can do. Light and power! Light and power! The world transformed. Burdens lifted from weary shoulders; homes transformed, and the hearts of all made glad.”
He was standing in the middle of the room as he uttered these words, and Jasper noted how the fire of excitement was increasing in intensity.
“Come,” and he laid his hand upon his companion’s arm as he spoke, “let us go for a walk.”
“Hush! Listen!” he cried, unheeding Jasper’s words. “There it is again! Do you hear it? It’s coming from the valley; it has winged its way across the sea. Ha, ha, he will hear it and tremble. But, wait, he is not there; he is in hell. Yes, that’s where he is—in hell! Where else could he be?”
David’s voice had risen to a shriek as he uttered the last words. Jasper stared at him in amazement. What did he mean by such strange utterances? Surely the man was out of his mind.
“Come,” he again ordered, “let us leave the house and go for a walk. You will feel better out in the cool air.”
Taking him by the arm Jasper led him out upon the verandah and down the steps. The twilight was deepening fast, and a quiet peace had settled over the land. Away to the right the trees on the high hills were clearly silhouetted against the evening sky. At any other time Jasper would have stood and revelled in the beauty of his surroundings. But now he was too much concerned about the man at his side to think about such things. From the time they left the house until they reached the main highway David talked incessantly. He was greatly excited, and gesticulated at almost every word.
At length he stopped, placed his right hand to his forehead, and looked around.
“What have I been saying?” he asked in a calmer voice. “It seems to me that I have been in a strange country seeing all kinds of things.”