She tried not to think of them. Her cheek was against Derry’s. She was safe—safe.
* * * * * *
Captain Hewes went away that night Drusilla’s accepted lover. He put a ring on her finger and kissed her “good-bye,” and with his head high faced the months that he must be separated from her.
“I will come back, dear woman.”
“I shall see you before that,” she told him. “I am coming over.”
“I shall hate to have you in it all. But it will be Heaven to see you.”
When he had gone, Drusilla went into Marion Gray’s study.
Marion looked up from her work. She was correcting manuscript, pages and pages of it. “Well, do you want me to congratulate you, Drusilla?”
Drusilla sat down. “I don’t know, Marion. He is the biggest and finest man I have ever met, but—”
“I wanted love to come to me differently, as it has come to Jean and Derry—without any doubts. I wanted to be sure. And I am not sure. I only know that I couldn’t let him go without making him happy.”
“Then is it—pity?”
“No. He means more to me than that. But I gave way to an impulse—the music, and his sad eyes. And then I cried, and he came up to me—fancy a man coming up before you all like that—”
“It was quite the most dramatic moment,” said the lady who wrote. “Quite unbelievable in real life. One finds those things occasionally in fiction.”
“It was as if there were just two of us alone in the world,” Drusilla confessed, “and I said what I did because I simply couldn’t help it. And it was true at the moment; I think it is always going to be true. If I marry him I shall care a great deal. But it has not come to me just as I had—dreamed.”
“Nothing is like our dreams,” said Marion, and dropped her pen. “That’s why I write. I can give my heroine all the bliss for which she yearns.”
Drusilla stood up. “You mustn’t misunderstand me, Marion. I am very happy in the thought of my good friend, of my great lover. It is only that it hasn’t quite measured up to what I expected.”
“Nothing measures up to what we expect.”
“And now Jean belongs to Derry, and I belong to my gallant and good Captain. I shall thank God before I sleep tonight, Marion.”
“And he’ll thank God—.”
They kissed each other, and Drusilla went to bed, and the next morning she wrote a letter to her Captain, which he carried next to his heart and kissed when he got a chance.
THE WHITE CAT
Derry, going quietly to his room that night, did not stop at the General’s door. He did not want to speak to Hilda, he did not want to speak to anyone, he wanted to be alone with his thoughts of Jean and that perfect ride with her through the snow.