“No,” she said, “he might never get it.” Mr. Royal looked at her more closely as she fixed her eyes upon him, flushing a little as she spoke with the earnestness of her purpose.
“Well,” he said musingly, “we certainly can’t get at him in any other way, and that one is uncertain and dangerous. Even the dispatches are subject to the fortunes of war. I don’t see what we can do, Elizabeth. Do you?”
But even as he spoke, he refrained from what he was about to add, turning his assertion into a question. For a change was coming over his daughter; the power within her to rise to great occasions was in force now. The conventionalities that were holding him in check were unfelt by her; she had risen above them to that high ground where the intricacies of life are resolved into absolute questions of right and wrong, and where perfect simplicity of intention becomes a divine guide.
“Father, do you remember,” she cried, “what I have cost him and Katie? I must not be silent, and let them be separated more, a great deal, than my foolish speech once seemed to do. He has gone where stray shots are of everyday occurence, and nobody ever inquires into them. Apart from this obligation, if we do nothing we shall be murderers.” She locked her fingers together as she spoke, not in nervous indecision, for her look was full of resolution, but as if the necessity that she was facing disturbed her. Mr. Royal suddenly perceived that his daughter had not finished, that behind that expression there was, not a suggestion, indeed, but a decision. She had come to him, not for advice, but for approval; she knew what to do. Her plan would scarcely be one to meet the approval of people like Mrs. Eveleigh. But he recognized that the soul that was looking out from Elizabeth’s fearless eyes had a high law of its own. And when his daughter spoke in this mood, Mr. Royal was reverent enough to listen.
“How strange it seems here,” said Nancy Foster leaning forward toward Elizabeth, as they sat in the sunshine on the deck of the schooner; and as she spoke she glanced along the horizon.