Noel held out her hand. “Good night!” she said.
The policeman took her hand with a queer, flattered embarrassment.
“Good night, miss,” he said again. “I see you’ve got a trouble; and I’m sure I hope it’ll turn out for the best.”
Noel gave his huge hand a squeeze; her eyes had filled with tears, and she turned quickly up towards the Square, where a dark figure was coming towards her, in whom she recognised her father. His face was worn and harassed; he walked irresolutely, like a man who has lost something.
“Nollie!” he said. “Thank God!” In his voice was an infinite relief. “My child, where have you been?”
“It’s all right, Daddy. Cyril has just gone to the front. I’ve been seeing him off from Charing Cross.”
Pierson slipped his arm round her. They entered the house without speaking.... 3
By the rail of his transport, as far—about two feet—as he could get from anyone, Cyril Morland stood watching Calais, a dream city, brighten out of the heat and grow solid. He could hear the guns already, the voice of his new life-talking in the distance. It came with its strange excitement into a being held by soft and marvellous memories, by one long vision of Noel and the moonlit grass, under the dark Abbey wall. This moment of passage from wonder to wonder was quite too much for a boy unused to introspection, and he stood staring stupidly at Calais, while the thunder of his new life came rolling in on that passionate moonlit dream.
After the emotions of those last three days Pierson woke with the feeling a ship must have when it makes landfall. Such reliefs are natural, and as a rule delusive; for events are as much the parents of the future as they were the children of the past. To be at home with both his girls, and resting—for his holiday would not be over for ten days—was like old times. Now George was going on so well Gratian would be herself again; now Cyril Morland was gone Noel would lose that sudden youthful love fever. Perhaps in two or three days if George continued to progress, one might go off with Noel somewhere for one’s last week. In the meantime