They let her sing it alone, even the tempting chorus, and when it was over Lindsay was almost certain that his were not the preliminary pangs of conversion by the methods of the Salvation Army. Deliberately, however, he postponed further analysis of them until after the meeting was over. He would be compelled then to go away, back to the club to dinner, or something; they would put out the lights and lock the place up: he thought of that. He glanced at the lamps with a perception of the finality that would come when they were extinguished—she would troop away with the others into the darkness—and then at his watch to see how much time there was left. More exhortation followed and more prayer; he was only aware that she did not speak. She sat with her hand over her eyes, and Lindsay had an excited conviction that she was still occupying herself with him. He looked round almost furtively to detect whether anyone else was aware of it, this connection that she was blazoning between them, and then relapsed, staring at his hat, into a sense of ungrammatical iterations beating through a room full of stuffy smells. When Laura spoke again his eye leaped to hers in a rapt effort to tell her that he perceived her intention. That he should be grateful, that he should approve, was neither here nor there; the indispensable thing was that she should know him conscious, receptive. She read three or four sacred verses, a throb of tender longing from the very Christheart, “Come unto Me.” . . . The words stole about the room like tears. Then she would ask “all present,” she said, to engage for a moment in silent prayer. There was a wordless interval, only the vague street noises surging past the door. A thrill ran along the benches as Laura brought it to an end with sudden singing. She was on her feet as the others raised their heads, breaking forth clear and jubilant.
“I am so wondrously
saved from sin,
Jesus so sweetly abides within;
There at the Cross where He took me in,
Glory to His name!”
She smiled as she sang. It was a happy confident smile, and it was plain that she longed to believe it the glad reflection of the last ten minutes’ spiritual experience of many who heard her. Lindsay’s perception of this was immediate and keen, and when her eyes rested for an instant of glad inquiry upon his in the chartered intimacy of her calling, he felt a pang of compunction. It was a formless reproach, too vague for anything like a charge, but it came nearest to defining itself in the idea that he had gone too far—he who had not left his seat. When the hymn was finished, and Ensign Sand said, “The meeting is now open for testimonies,” he knew that all her hope was upon him, though she looked at the screen above his head; and he sat abashed, with a prodigal sense surging through him of what he would rejoice to do for her in compensation. In the little chilly silence that followed he surprised his own eyes moist with disappointment—it had all been so anxious and so vain—and he felt relief and gratitude when the man who beat the drum stood up and announced that he had been saved for eleven years, with details about how badly he stood in need of it when it happened.