Just the same with the hints which he had given. “Merely close personal observation; for it must be admitted that he had more of that than most people; but as for ingenuity! Well, he could make out a good case for himself, but that was about the extent of his ingenuity.”
“His earlier articles, as well as those which had recently appeared on the use of electricity in baking and tanning—could you call those discoveries? Let us see what he will invent now that he has come home, and cannot get ideas from reading and from seeing people.”
Rafael noticed this change—first among the ladies, who all seemed to have been suddenly blown away, with a few exceptions, who did not respect a marriage like his, and who would not give in.
His relations, also, held somewhat aloof. “It was not thus that he showed himself a true Ravn. He was so in temperament and disposition, perhaps, but it was just his defect that he was only a half-breed.”
The change of front was complete: he noticed it on all hands. But he was man enough, and had sufficient obstinacy as well, to let himself be urged on by this to hard work, and in his wife there was still more of the same feeling.
He had a sense of elevation in having done his duty, and as long as this tension lasted it kept him up to the mark. On the day of his marriage (from early in the morning until the time when the ceremony took place) he employed himself in writing to his mother; a wonderful, a solemn letter in the sight of the All-Knowing,—the cry of a tortured soul in utmost peril.
It depended on his mother whether she would receive them and let their life become all that was now possible. Angelika—their business, manager, housekeeper, chief. He—devoted to his experiments. She—the tender mother, the guide of both.
It seemed to him that their future depended on this letter and the answer to it, and he wrote in that spirit. Never had he so fully depicted himself, so fully searched his own heart.
It was the outcome of what he had lived through during these last few days, the mellowing influence of his struggles during the night watches. Nothing could have been more candid.
He was pained that he did not receive an answer at once, although he realised what a blow it would be to her. He understood that, to begin with, it would destroy all her dreams, as it had already destroyed. But he relied on her optimistic nature, which he had never known surpassed, and on the depth of her purpose in all that she undertook. He knew that she drew strength and resolution from all that was deepest in their common life.
Therefore he gave her time, notwithstanding Angelika’s restlessness, which could hardly be controlled. She even began to sneer; but there was something holy in his anticipation: her words fell unheeded.
When on the third day he had received no letter, he telegraphed, merely these words: “Mother, send me an answer.” The wires had never carried anything more fraught with unspoken grief.