The candles burned down in their sockets, the wind rose to greater furies, and died away only as the dawn broke through the storm clouds. A pale light stole into the room. Still the woman slept, and still her fingers seemed to keep their clutch upon his hand. Her breathing was all the time soft and regular. Her silky black eyelashes lay motionless upon her pale cheeks. Her mouth—a very perfectly shaped mouth—rested in quiet lines. Somehow he realised that about this slumber there was a new thing. With hot eyes and aching limbs he sat through the night. Dream after dream rose up and passed away before that little background of tapestried wall. When she opened her eyes and looked at him, the same smile parted her lips as the smile which had come there when she had passed away to sleep.
“I am so rested,” she murmured. “I feel so well. I have had dreams, beautiful dreams.”
The fire had burned out, and the room was chilly.
“You must go back to your own room now,” he said.
Very slowly her fingers relaxed. She held out her arms.
“Carry me,” she begged. “I am only half awake. I want to sleep again.”
He lifted her up. Her fingers closed around his neck, her head fell back with a little sigh of content. He tried the folding doors, and, finding some difficulty in opening them carried her out into the corridor, into her own room, and laid her upon the untouched bed.
“You are quite comfortable?” he asked.
“Quite,” she murmured drowsily. “Kiss me, Everard.”
Her hands drew his face down. His lips rested upon her forehead. Then he drew the bedclothes over her and fled.
There was a cloud on Seaman’s good-humoured face as, muffled up in their overcoats, he and his host walked up and down the terrace the next morning, after the departure of Mr. Mangan. He disclosed his mind a little abruptly.
“In a few minutes,” he said, “I shall come to the great purpose of my visit. I have great and wonderful news for you. But it will keep.”
“The time for action has arrived?” Dominey asked curiously. “I hope you will remember that as yet I am scarcely established here.”
“It is with regard to your establishment here,” Seaman explained drily, “that I desire to say a word. We have seen much of one another since we met in Cape Town. The passion and purpose of my life you have been able to judge. Of those interludes which are necessary to a human being, unless his system is to fall to pieces as dry dust, you have also seen something. I trust you will not misunderstand me when I say that apart from the necessities of my work, I am a man of sentiment.”
“I am prepared to admit it,” Dominey murmured a little idly.