“Oh,” Lindsay cried, “stop! Don’t, for Heaven’s sake, look at me in that light any longer. I’m not penitent. I’m not—what do you call it?—a soul under conviction. Nothing of the sort.” He waited with considerateness for this to have its effect upon her; he could not go on until he saw her emerge, gasping, from the inundation of it. But she was not even staggered by it. She only looked down at her folded hands with an added seriousness and a touch of sorrow.
“Aren’t you?” she said. “But at least you feel that you ought to be. I thought it had been accomplished. But I will go on praying.”
“Shall you be very angry if I tell you that I’d rather you didn’t? I want to come into your life differently—sincerely.”
She looked at him with such absolute blankness that his resolution was swiftly overturned, and showed him a different face.
“I won’t tell you anything about what I feel and what I want to-night except this—I find that you are influencing all my thoughts and all my days in what is to me a very new and a very happy way. You hear as much as that often, and from many people, don’t you? So there is nothing in it that need startle you or make you uncomfortable.” He paused, and she nodded in a visible effort to follow him.
“So I am here to-night to ask you to let me do something for you just for my own pleasure—there must be some way of helping you, and being your friend—”
“As Mr. Harris is,” she interrupted. “I do influence Mr. Harris for good, I know. He says so.”
“Influence me,” he begged, “in any way you like.”
“I will pray for you,” she said. “I promise that.”
“And you will let me see you sometimes?” he asked, conceding the point.
“If I thought it would do you any good”—she looked at him doubtfully, clasping and unclasping her hands; “I will see; I will ask for guidance. Perhaps it is one of His own appointed ways. If you have no objection, I will give you this little book, Almost Persuaded. I am sure you are almost persuaded. Above all, I hope you will go on coming to the meetings.”
And in the course of the next two or three moments Lindsay found himself, somewhat to his astonishment, again in the night of the staircase, dismissed exactly as Mr. Harris had been, by the agency of a printed volume. Only in his case a figure of much angelic beauty stood at the top, holding a patent kerosene lamp high, to illumine his way. He refrained from looking back lest she should see something too human in his face, and vanish, leaving him in darkness which would be indeed impenetrable.