“I believe you think that by taking strong measures one can exorcise things,” he said. “That if we could only write out this history of ours in our hearts’ blood it would somehow vanish.”
“No,” she said, “but I should like to do it all the same.”
“You must bear with me if I refuse the heroic in little. It is even harder than the other.” He broke off, leaning back and looking at her from under his shading hand as if that might protect him from too complete a vision. The firelight was warm on her cheek and hair, her needle once again completed the dear delusion: she sat there, his wife. This was an aspect he forbade, but it would return; here it was again.
“It is good to have you in my life,” he said. “It is also good to recognize one’s possibilities.”
“How can you definitely lose me?” she asked, and he shook his head.
“I don’t know. Now that I have found you it is as if you and I had been rocked together on the tide of that inconceivable ocean that casts us half-awake upon life,” he said dreamily. “It isn’t friendship of ideas, it’s a friendship of spirit. Indeed, I hope and pray never wholly to lose that.”
“You never will,” she told him. “How many worlds one lives in as the day goes by with the different people one cares for—one beyond the other, concentric, ringing from the heart! Yours comprises all the others; it lies the farthest out—and alas! at present. the closest in,” she added irresistibly to the asking of his eyes.
“But,” she hurried on, taking high ground to remedy her indiscretion, “I look forward to the time when this—other feeling of ours will become just an idea, as it is now just an emotion, at which we should try to smile. It is the attitude of the gods.”
“And therefore not becoming to men. Why should we, not being gods. borrow their attitude?” said Finlay.
“I could never kill it,” she put her work in her lap to say, “by any sudden act of violence. It would seem a kind of suicide. While it rules it is like one’s life—absolute. But to isolate it—to place it beyond the currents from the heart—to look at it, and realize it, and conquer it for what it is—I don’t think it need take so very long. And then our friendship will be beautiful without reproach.”
“I sometimes fear there may not be time enough in life,” he said. “And if I find that I must simply go—to British Columbia, I think—those mining missions would give a man his chance against himself. There is splendid work to be done there, of a rough-and-ready kind that would make it puerile to spend time in self-questioning.”
She smiled as if at a violent boy. “We can do it. We can do it here,” she said. “May I quote another religion to you? ’From purification there arises in the Yogi a thorough discernment of the cause and nature of the body, whereupon he loses that regard which others have for the bodily form.’ Then, if he loves, he loves in spirit and in truth. I look forward to the time,” she went on calmly, “when the best that I can give you or you can give me will ride upon a glance.”