What had she done, and what was she going to do? She was playing with religion; and religion, if it was nothing more, was something which had made Bart Toyner look at her with such a strange smile of selfless hope and desire—hope that she would be something different from what she had been, desire that the best should come to her whatever was going to happen to him. That was the explanation of what had seemed inexplicable in his look (she felt glad to have worked it out at last); and if anything so strange as that were possible in Bart, what was the force with which she was playing? Would some judgment befall her?
The evening closed in. Christa went to bed to finish a yellow-backed novel. As it was the last she was to read for a long time, she thought she might as well enjoy it. Ann sat alone in the outer room. The night was very still. Christa went to sleep, but Ann continued to sit, stitching at the very plain garb that Christa was to don on the morrow, not so much because she needed to work as because she felt no need of sleep. The night being close and warm, her window, a small French casement, stood open. At a late hour, when passers upon the road were few, arrested by some sound, she knew not what, she lifted her head and looked through the open window intently, in the same way as we lift our eyes and look sometimes just because another, a stranger perhaps, has riveted his gaze upon us.
A moment more, and Ann saw some one come within the beams of her own lamp outside of the window; the figure crossed like a dark, silent shadow, but Ann thought she recognised Toyner. The outline of the clothes that he had worn when she had seen him last just about this hour on the previous night was unconsciously impressed upon her mind. A shudder of fear came over her, and then she was astonished at the fear; he might easily have done all that she had given him to do and returned by this time. Yet why did he pass the window in that ghostly fashion and show no sign of coming to the door? A moment or two that she sat seemed beaten out into the length and width of minutes by the throbbing of her nerves, usually so steady. She determined to steel herself against discomfort. If Toyner had done his work and come home and did not think it wise to visit her openly, what was there to alarm in that? Yet she remembered that Toyner had spoken of being away for some indefinite length of time. She had not understood why last night, and now it seemed even more hard to understand.
As she sewed she found herself looking up moment by moment at the window. It was not long before she saw the same figure there again, close now, and in the full light. Her hands dropped nerveless upon her knee; she sat gazing with strained whitened face. The outline of the clothes she associated with the thought of Toyner, but from under the dark hat her father’s face looked at her. Not the face of a man she thought, but the face of a spirit, as white as if it were lifeless, as haggard as if it were dead, but with blazing life in the eyeballs and a line like red fire round their rims. In a moment it was gone again.