“High heaven!” cried Mr. Lavender, “that I should hear such words from so red lips!”
“I’ve not been a Pacifist, so far,” continued the young lady, stifling a yawn, “because I hate cruelty, I hate it enough to want to be cruel to it. I want the Huns to lap their own sauce. I don’t want to be revengeful, but I just can’t help it.”
“My dear young lady,” said Mr. Lavender soothingly, “you are not—you cannot be revengeful; for every great writer and speaker tells us that revengefulness is an emotion alien to the Allies, who are merely just.
At this familiar word, Blink who had been following their conversation quietly, threw up her nose and licked the young lady’s hand so unexpectedly that she started and added:
Mr. Lavender, who took the expression as meant for himself, coloured furiously.
“Aurora,” he said in a faint voice, “the rapture in my heart prevents my taking advantage of your sweet words. Forgive me, and let us go quietly in, with the vision I have seen, for I know my place.”
The young lady’s composure seemed to tremble in the balance, and her lips twitched; then holding out her hand she took Mr. Lavender’s and gave it a good squeeze.
“You really are a dear,” she said. “I think you ought to be in bed. My name’s Isabel, you know.”
“Not to me,” said Mr. Lavender. You are the Dawn; nothing shall persuade me to the contrary. And from henceforth I swear to rise with you every morning.”
“Oh, no!” cried the young lady please don’t imagine that I sniff the matutinal as a rule. I just happened to be in a night shift.”
“No matter,” said Mr. Lavender; “I shall see you with the eye of faith, in your night shifts, and draw from the vision strength to continue my public work beckoned by the fingers of the roseate future.”
“Well,” murmured the young lady, “so long for now; and do go back to bed. It’s only about five.” And waving the tips of those fingers, she ran lightly up the garden-path and disappeared into her house.
Mr. Lavender remained for a moment as if transfigured; then entering his garden, he stood gazing up at her window, until the thought that she might appear there was too much for him, and he went in.
BREAKS UP A PEACE MEETING
While seated at breakfast on the morning after he had seen this vision, Mr. Lavender, who read his papers as though they had been Holy Writ, came on an announcement that a meeting would be held that evening at a chapel in Holloway under the auspices of the “Free Speakers’ League,” an association which his journals had often branded with a reputation, for desiring Peace. On reading the names of the speakers Mr. Lavender felt at once that it would be his duty to attend. “There will,” he thought, “very likely be no one there to register a protest. For in this country we have pushed the doctrine of free speech to a limit which threatens the noble virtue of patriotism. This is no doubt a recrudescence of that terrible horse-sense in the British people which used to permit everybody to have his say, no matter what he said. Yet I would rather stay at home,” he mused “for they will do me violence, I expect; cowardice, however, would not become me, and I must go.”