It is never destined that man should remain long in Eden. About noon that day Ann heard a shout from the direction of the lake outside among the dead trees; the shout was repeated yet nearer, and in a minute or two she recognised the voice and heard the sound of oars splashing up the narrow channel made by the running creek. The thought of this deliverance had not occurred to her; yet when she recognised the voice it seemed to her natural enough that David Brown should have divined where his canoe might have been brought. She stood waiting while his boat came up the creek. The young athlete sprang from it, question and reproach in his handsome young face. She found no difficulty then in telling him just what she had done, and why. She felt herself suddenly freed from all that life of frequent deception which she had so long practised. She had no desire to dupe any man now into doing any service. Something in the stress of the last days, in her new reverence for Bart, had wrought a change in the relative value she set on truth and the gain of untruth. She held up her head with a gesture of new dignity as she told David that she had sought her father and found Bart.
“Father has half killed him, and now it hurts me to see him ill. Bart is a good man. O David, I tell you there is no one in the world I mind about so much as Bart. Could you take him in your boat now to the hospital at The Mills? He would have done as much for you, and more, if you had got hurt in that way.”
So David took the man Ann loved to the hospital at The Mills. He did it willingly if he did it ruefully. Ann went home, as she had come, in the canoe, except that she had gone out in the dead of night and she went home in broad daylight.
No one blamed Ann when they knew she had gone out to help her father; no one smiled or sneered when they found that she had succeeded in saving Toyner’s life.
A few days passed, and poor Markham was found drowned in a forest pool. They brought him home and buried him decently at Fentown for his daughter’s sake.
Toyner lay ill for weeks in the little wooden hospital at The Mills.
When Toyner was well he came home again. His mind was still animated with the conception of God as suffering in the human struggle, but as absolute Lord of that struggle, and the consequent belief that nothing but obedience to the lower motive can be called evil. The new view of truth his vision had given him had become too really a part of his mind to be overthrown. It was no doubt a growth from the long years of desultory browsing upon popular science and the one year that had been so entirely devoted to the story of the gospel and to prayer. He could not doubt his new creed; but no sooner had he left the hospital walls than that burden came upon him of which the greatest stress is this, that in trying to fit new light to common use we are apt to lose the clearer vision of the light itself.