The Sphinx on the curtain—it had gone down in the old crooked lines—again looked above and beyond them all. I have sometimes fancied a trace of malignancy about her steady eyeballs, but perhaps that is the accident or the design of the scene-painter; it does not show in photographs. The audience was dispersing a trifle sedately; the performance had been, as Mrs. Barberry told Mr. Justice Horne, interesting but, depressing. “I hope,” said Alicia to Stephen, fastening the fluffy-white collar of the wrap he put round her, “that I needn’t be sorry I asked you to come. I don’t quite know. But she did redeem it, didn’t she? That last scene—”
“Can you not be silent?” Arnold said, almost in a whisper; and her look of astonishment showed her that there were tears in his eyes. He left the theatre and walked light-headedly across Chowringhee and out into the starlit empty darkness of the Maidan, where presently he stumbled upon a wooden bench under a tree. There, after a little, sleep fell upon his amazement, and he lay unconscious for an hour or two, while the breeze stole across the grass from the river and the mast-head lights watched beside the city. He woke chilled and normal, and when he reached the Mission House in College Street his servant was surprised at the unusual irritation of a necessary rebuke.
While Alicia Livingstone fought with her imagination in accounting for Lindsay’s absence from the theatre on the first night of a notable presentation by Miss Hilda Howe, he sat with his knees crossed on the bench farthest back and the corner obscurest of the Salvation Army Headquarters in Bentinck Street. It had become his accustomed place; sitting there he had begun to feel like the adventurer under Niagara, it was the only spot from which he could observe, try to understand and cope with the torrential nature of his passion. Nearer to the fair charm of his kneeling Laura, in the uncertain flare of the kerosene lamp and the sound of the big drum, he grew blind, lost count, was carried away. His persistent refusal of a better place also profited him in that it brought to Ensign Sand and the other “officers” the divination that he was one of those shyly anxious souls who have to be enticed into the Kingdom of Heaven