“I don’t believe I quite undastand,” she faltered.
“You must not do it for me, but for what makes me do it. Without that our life, our work, could have no consecration.”
She gazed at him in patient, faintly smiling bewilderment, as if it were something he would unriddle for her when he chose.
“We mustn’t err in this; it would be worse than error; it would be sin.” He took a turn about the room, and then stopped before her. “Will you—will you join me in a prayer for guidance, Clementina?”
“I—I don’t know,” she hesitated. “I will, but—do you think I had betta?”
He began, “Why, surely”—After a moment he asked gravely, “You believe that our actions will be guided aright, if we seek help?”
“And that if we do not, we shall stumble in our ignorance?”
“I don’t know. I never thought of that.”
“Never thought of it—”
“We never did it in our family. Father always said that if we really wanted to do right we could find the way.” Gregory looked daunted, and then he frowned darkly. “Are you provoked with me? Do you think what I have said is wrong?”
“No, no! You must say what you believe. It would be double hypocrisy in me if I prevented you.”
“But I would do it, if you wanted me to,” she said.
“Oh, for me, for me!” he protested. “I will try to tell you what I mean, and why you must not, for that very reason.” But he had to speak of himself, of the miracle of finding her again by the means which should have lost her to him forever; and of the significance of this. Then it appeared to him that he could not reject such a leading without error, without sin. “Such a thing could not have merely happened.”
It seemed so to Clementina, too; she eagerly consented that this was something they must think of, as well. But the light waned, the dark thickened in the room before he left her to do so. Then he said fervently, “We must not doubt that everything will come right,” and his words seemed an effect of inspiration to them both.
After Gregory was gone a misgiving began in Clementina’s mind, which grew more distinct, through all the difficulties of accounting to Mrs. Lander for his long stay, The girl could see that it was with an obscure jealousy that she pushed her questions, and said at last, “That Mr. Hinkle is about the best of the lot. He’s the only one that’s eva had the mannas to ask after me, except that lo’d. He did.”
Clementina could not pretend that Gregory had asked, but she could not blame him for a forgetfulness of Mrs. Lander which she had shared with him. This helped somehow to deepen the misgiving which followed her from Mrs. Lander’s bed to her own, and haunted her far into the night. She could escape from it only by promising herself to deal with it the first thing in the morning. She did this in terms much briefer than she thought she could have commanded. She supposed she would have to write a very long letter, but she came to the end of all she need say, in a very few lines.