Warrington looked dreamily at the grave, and the philosopher in him speculated upon the mystery of it. Either the grave is Heaven or it is nothing; one can proceed no farther. If there was a Heaven (and in the secret corner of his heart he believed there was), a new star shone in the sky at night, a gentle, peaceful star. Just now the pain came in the knowledge that she was gone; later the actual absence would be felt. For a month or so it would seem that she had gone on a journey; he would find himself waiting and watching; but as the weeks and months went by, and he heard not her step nor her voice, then would come the real anguish. They tell us that these wounds heal; well, maybe; but they open and reopen and open again till that day we ourselves cease to take interest in worldly affairs.
He stooped and picked up one of the roses which she had held in her hand. Reverently he pressed his lips to it and put it away in his wallet. Then he turned and went slowly down the hill. He had never really known her till these last few months; not till now did he realize how closely knit together had been their lives and affections. He lighted a cigar, and with his hands behind his back and his chin in his collar, he continued to the gates. The old care-taker opened and closed the gates phlegmatically. Day by day they came, and one by one they never went out again. To him there was neither joy nor grief; if the grass grew thick and the trees leaved abundantly, that was all he desired.
It was a long walk to Williams Street, and he was tired when he entered the house. Jove leaped upon him gladly. Warrington held the dog’s head in his hands and gazed into the brown eyes. Here was one that loved him, wholly and without question. You will always find some good in the man who retains the affection of his dog. In good times or bad, they are stanch friends; and they are without self-interest, which is more than human. In the living-room he found the Angora curled up on a sofa-cushion. He smoothed her, and she stretched her lithe body luxuriously and yawned. There is no other animal which so completely interprets the word indifference. Warrington wondered what he should do with her, for he was not very fond of cats. But his aunt had loved her, so he passed on to the dining-room without deciding what to do.
It was a lonely supper. He kept his eyes on his plate as well as he could; for whenever he saw the back of her chair, his food choked him. He wondered why he did not take the decanter of whisky down from the sideboard; a generous tumblerful. ... No. This was the first time in months that the desire to drink deeply came to him. No; he would leave it there. Supper done, he went to his den and took down a book. Could he live here now? He doubted it, for it was a house of empty doors. He settled himself in a chair and turned the pages of the book to a place he loved well. It was where D’Artagnan, representing Planchet and Company, returns to the grocer with the bags of English gold which, for several good reasons, Charles Second has given him for General Monk’s sword. He was well along toward the fainting of the honest Planchet on the money-bags, when the telephone rang. He took up the receiver.