If she could only meet men like that. Men to whom life was more than a game—a carnival. From the stone bench where she sat she had a view through the long French windows of the three tables of bridge—there were slender, restless girls, eager, elegant youths. “Perhaps they are no worse than those who lived here before them,” Madge’s sense of justice told her. “But isn’t there something better?”
From her window later, she saw Dalton’s car flash out into the road. The light wound down and down, and appeared at last upon the highway. It was not the first time that George had played the game with another girl. But he had always come back to her. She had often wondered why she let him come. “Why do I let him?” she asked the moon.
It really was a great moon. It shone through the windows of the Bird Room at Huntersfield, wooing George out into the fragrant night. He could hear voices on the lawn—young Paine’s laugh—Becky’s. Once when he looked he saw them on the ridge, silhouetted against the golden sky. They were dancing, and Randy’s clear whistle, piping a modern tune, came up to him, tantalizing him.
But the Judge held him. It took him nearly an hour to get through with the Bob-whites and the sandpipers, the wild turkeys, the ducks and the wild geese. And long before that time George was bored to extinction. He had little imagination. To him the Trumpeter was just a stuffed old bird. He could not picture him as blowing his trumpet beside the moon, or wearing a golden crown as in “The Seven Brothers.” He had never heard of “The Seven Brothers,” and nobody in the world wore crowns except kings. As for the old eagle, it is doubtful whether George had ever felt the symbolism of his presence on a silver coin, or that he had ever linked him in his heart with God.
Then, suddenly, the whole world changed. Becky appeared on the threshold.
“Grandfather,” she said, “Aunt Claudia says there is lemonade on the lawn.”
“In a moment, my dear.”
George rose hastily. “Don’t let me keep you, Judge——”
Becky advanced into the room. “Aren’t the birds wonderful?”
“They are,” said George, seeing them wonderful for the first time.
“I always feel,” she said, “as if some time they will flap their wings and fly away—on a night like this—the swans going first, and then the ducks and geese, and last of all the little birds, trailing across the moon——” Her hands fluttered to show them trailing. Becky used her hands a great deal when she talked. Aunt Claudia deplored it as indicating too little repose. The nuns, she felt, should have corrected the habit. But the nuns had loved Becky’s descriptive hands, poking, emphasizing, and had let her alone.
The three of them, the Judge and Becky and Dalton, went out together. The little group which sat in the wide moonlighted space in front of the house was dwarfed by the great trees which hung in masses of black against the brilliant night. The white dresses of the women seemed touched with silver.