“I am glad he wrote that letter,” she said after a moment’s pause. “I always believed in him, and now—well, I think, he is almost worthy of you, Faustina.”
Faustina threw her arms around Corona’s neck, and kissed her again and again.
“I am so glad you know how good he is!” she cried. “I could not be happy unless you liked him, and you do.”
All through the morning the two friends sat together in the great drawing-room talking, as such women can talk to each other, with infinite grace about matters not worth recording, or if they spoke of things of greater importance, repeating the substance of what they had said before, finding at each repetition some new comment to make, some new point upon which to agree, after the manner of people who are very fond of each other. The hours slipped by, and they were unconscious of the lapse of time. The great clocks of the neighbouring church towers tolled eleven, twelve, and one o’clock, and yet they had more to say, and did not even notice the loud ringing of the hundred bells. The day was clear, and the bright sunlight streamed in through the high windows, telling the hour with a more fateful precision than the clocks outside. All was peace and happiness and sweet intercourse, as the two women sat there undisturbed through the long morning. They talked, and laughed, and held their hands clasped together, unconscious of the rest of the world. No sound penetrated from the rest of the house to the quiet, sunlit hall, which to Faustina’s mind had never looked so cheerful before since she could remember it. And yet within the walls of the huge old palace strange things were passing, things which it was well that neither of them should see.