So they came in the sacred hush of the young night to a great tulip-tree on the lawn, and where a curiously water-worn limestone boulder served as a rustic seat wide enough for two whose hearts are one they sat down together, still in the companionship that needs no speech. It was Tom who first broke the silence.
“I have been trying ever since that night last winter to feel my way out,” he said slowly. “But what is to come of it? I can’t go back to the boyhood yesterdays; in a way I have hopelessly outgrown them. Let us admit that religion has become real again; but Ardea, girl, it isn’t Uncle Silas’s religion, or—or my mother’s, or even yours. And I don’t know any other.”
She laid a hand on one of his.
“It is all right, dear; there is only the one religion in all Christendom—perhaps in all the world, or in God’s part of it. The difference is in people.”
“But this thing that has been slowly happening to me—this thing I am trying to call convincement: shall I wake up some day and find it gone, with all the old doubts in the saddle again?” he asked it almost wistfully.
“Who can tell?” she said gently. “But it will make no difference; the immutable fact will be there just the same, whether you are asleep or waking. We can’t always stand on the Mount of Certainty, any of us; and to some, perhaps, it is never given. But when one saves his enemy’s life and forgives and forgets—O Tom, dear! don’t you understand?”
But now his eyes are love-blinded, and the white-gowned figure beside him fills all horizons.
“I can’t see past you, Ardea. Nevertheless, I’m going to believe that I feel the good old pike solid underfoot ... and they say that the House Beautiful is somewhere at the mountain end of it. If you will hold my hand, I believe I can make out to walk in it; blindfolded, if I have to—and without thinking too much of the yesterdays.”
“Ah, the yesterdays!” she said tenderly. “They are precious, too; for out of them, out of their hindrances no less than their helpings, comes to-day. Kiss me, twice, Tom; and then I must go in and read to Major Grandpa.”