And here it may be stated that Geoffrey’s advice was not altogether thrown away. Beatrice did try looking at the question again, and if Faith did not altogether come back to her at least Hope did, and “the greatest of these, which is Charity,” had never deserted her. Hope came slowly back, not by argument probably, but rather by example. In the sea of Doubt she saw another buoyed up, if it were but on broken pieces of the ship. This encouraged her. Geoffrey believed, and she—believed in Geoffrey. Indeed, is not this the secret of woman’s philosophy—even, to some extent, of that of such a woman as Beatrice? “Let the faith or unfaith of This, That, or the other Rabbi answer for me,” she says—it is her last argument. She believes in This, or That, or some other philosopher: that is her creed. And Geoffrey was the person in whom Beatrice began to believe, all the more wholly because she had never believed in any one before. Whatever else she was to lose, this at least she won when she saved his life.
On the day following their religious discussion an accident happened which resulted in Geoffrey and Beatrice being more than ever thrown in the company of each other. During the previous week two cases of scarlatina had been reported among the school children, and now it was found that the complaint had spread so much that it was necessary to close the school. This meant, of course, that Beatrice had all her time upon her hands. And so had Geoffrey. It was his custom to bathe before breakfast, after which he had nothing to do for the rest of the day. Beatrice with little Effie also bathed before breakfast from the ladies’ bathing-place, a quarter of a mile off, and sometimes he would meet her as she returned, glowing with health and beauty like Venus new risen from the Cyprian sea, her half-dried hair hanging in heavy masses down her back. Then after breakfast they would take Effie down to the beach, and her “auntie,” as the child learned to call Beatrice, would teach her lessons and poetry till she was tired, and ran away to paddle in the sea or look for prawns among the rocks.
Meanwhile the child’s father and Beatrice would talk—not about religion, they spoke no more on that subject, nor about Owen Davies, but of everything else on earth. Beatrice was a merry woman when she was happy, and they never lacked subjects of conversation, for their minds were very much in tune. In book-learning Beatrice had the advantage of Geoffrey, for she had not only read enormously, she also remembered what she read and could apply it. Her critical faculty, too, was very keen. He, on the other hand, had more knowledge of the world, and in his rich days had travelled a good deal, and so it came to pass that each could always find something to tell the other. Never for one second were they dull, not even when they sat for an hour or so in silence, for it was the silence of complete companionship.