‘Good-night, dear.’ She paused at the door, then raised her face to his.
Their lips met in the first kiss.
The following Saturday Selwyn met Elise at Waterloo, and with her hand on his arm they walked through London’s happy streets.
It was 9th November.
News had come that the Germans had entered the French lines to receive the armistice terms, and hard on that was the official report that the German Emperor had abdicated.
London—great London—whose bosom had sustained the shocks, the hopes, the cruelties of war, was bathed in a noble sunlight. For all its incongruities and jumbled architecture, it has great moments that no other city knows; and as Selwyn and Elise made their way through the crowds, there was an indefinable majesty that lay like a golden robe over the whole metropolis.
Above St. Paul’s there floated shining gray airships, escorted by encircling aeroplanes. Hope—dumb hope—was abroad. Not in an abandonment of ecstasy, or of garish vulgarity which was soon to follow, but in a spirit of proud sorrow, Londoners raised their eyes to the skies. Passengers on omnibuses looked with new gratitude at the plucky girls in charge who had carried on so long. People stood aside to let wounded soldiers pass, and old men touched their hats to them. The heart of London beat in unison with the great heart of humanity.
From crowded streets, from domes and spires and open parks, there soared to heaven a mighty Gloria—gloria in excelsis.’
After a lunch, during which they were both shy and extraordinarily happy, they took a taxi-cab and drove to a house in Bedford Square.
Leaving Elise, Selwyn knocked at the door, and was admitted to a room where a girl in an American nurse’s outdoor costume waited for him.
‘I got your letter in answer to mine, Austin,’ said she, giving him both her hands, ‘and I am all ready. Did you see him?’
’I did—yesterday afternoon. But, Marjory, I told him nothing of you, and if you want to withdraw there is yet time. Have you really thought what this means to you?’
Her only answer was a patient smile as she opened the door and led him outside.
‘Elise,’ said Selwyn, as they entered the cab, ’I want to introduce Miss Marjory Shoreham of New York.’
‘Austin has told me all about you,’ said Elise, ’and I think you are wonderfully brave.’
She took the nurse’s hand and held it tightly in hers as the car drove towards Waterloo.
An hour later they reached a Sussex station, and hiring a conveyance, drove to a charming country home which was owned by a Mr. Redwood, whom Selwyn had met on board ship. A servant told them as they drove up to the door that the master of the house had gone to the village, but that they were to come in and make themselves at home.