It was better in the train; the distraction of all the strange crowd of foreigners, the interest of new faces and new country; and then sleep—a long night of it, snoozed up in his corner, thoroughly fagged out. And next day more new country, more new faces; and slowly, his mood changing from ache and bewilderment to a sense of something promised, delightful to look forward to. Then Calais at last, and a night-crossing in a wet little steamer, a summer gale blowing spray in his face, waves leaping white in a black sea, and the wild sound of the wind. On again to London, the early drive across the town, still sleepy in August haze; an English breakfast—porridge, chops, marmalade. And, at last, the train for home. At all events he could write to her, and tearing a page out of his little sketch-book, he began:
“I am writing in the train, so please forgive this joggly writing—”
Then he did not know how to go on, for all that he wanted to say was such as he had never even dreamed of writing—things about his feelings which would look horrible in words; besides, he must not put anything that might not be read, by anyone, so what was there to say?
“It has been such a long journey,” he wrote at last, “away from the Tyrol;” (he did not dare even to put “from you,”) “I thought it would never end. But at last it has—very nearly. I have thought a great deal about the Tyrol. It was a lovely time—the loveliest time I have ever had. And now it’s over, I try to console myself by thinking of the future, but not the immediate future—that is not very enjoyable. I wonder how the mountains are looking to-day. Please give my love to them, especially the lion ones that come and lie out in the moonlight—you will not recognize them from this”— then followed a sketch. “And this is the church we went to, with someone kneeling. And this is meant for the ‘English Grundys,’ looking at someone who is coming in very late with an alpenstock— only, I am better at the ‘English Grundys’ than at the person with the alpenstock. I wish I were the ‘English Grundys’ now, still in the Tyrol. I hope I shall get a letter from you soon; and that it will say you are getting ready to come back. My guardian will be awfully keen for you to come and stay with us. He is not half bad when you know him, and there will be his sister, Mrs. Doone, and her daughter left there after the wedding. It will be simply disgusting if you and Mr. Stormer don’t come. I wish I could write all I feel about my lovely time in the Tyrol, but you must please imagine it.”
And just as he had not known how to address her, so he could not tell how to subscribe himself, and only put “Mark Lennan.”