“Oh! I’m hurting it!”
She laughed, not wishing to cry.
In a few minutes he would have to start to catch the only train that would get him home in time.
She went and helped him to pack. Her heart felt like lead, but, not able to bear that look on his face again, she kept cheerfully talking of their return, asking about his home, how to get to it, speaking of Oxford and next term. When his things were ready she put her arms round his neck, and for a moment pressed him to her. Then she escaped. Looking back from his door, she saw him standing exactly as when she had withdrawn her arms. Her cheeks were wet; she dried them as she went downstairs. When she felt herself safe, she went out on the terrace. Her husband was there, and she said to him:
“Will you come with me into the town? I want to buy some things.”
He raised his eyebrows, smiled dimly, and followed her. They walked slowly down the hill into the long street of the little town. All the time she talked of she knew not what, and all the time she thought: His carriage will pass—his carriage will pass!
Several carriages went jingling by. At last he came. Sitting there, and staring straight before him, he did not see them. She heard her husband say:
“Hullo! Where is our young friend Lennan off to, with his luggage— looking like a lion cub in trouble?”
She answered in a voice that she tried to make clear and steady:
“There must be something wrong; or else it is his sister’s wedding.”
She felt that her husband was gazing at her, and wondered what her face was like; but at that moment the word “Madre!” sounded close in her ear and they were surrounded by a small drove of ’English Grundys.’
That twenty mile drive was perhaps the worst part of the journey for the boy. It is always hard to sit still and suffer.
When Anna left him the night before, he had wandered about in the dark, not knowing quite where he went. Then the moon came up, and he found himself sitting under the eave of a barn close to a chalet where all was dark and quiet; and down below him the moon-whitened valley village—its roofs and spires and little glamorous unreal lights.
In his evening suit, his dark ruffled hair uncovered, he would have made a quaint spectacle for the owners of that chalet, if they had chanced to see him seated on the hay-strewn boards against their barn, staring before him with such wistful rapture. But they were folk to whom sleep was precious. . . .
And now it was all snatched away from him, relegated to some immensely far-off future. Would it indeed be possible to get his guardian to ask them down to Hayle? And would they really come? His tutor would surely never care to visit a place right away in the country—far from books and everything! He frowned, thinking of his tutor, but it was with perplexity—no other feeling. And yet, if he could not have them down there, how could he wait the two whole months till next term began! So went his thoughts, round and round, while the horses jogged, dragging him further and further from her.