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   Chapter 29 No.29

Everyman's Land By A. M. Williamson Characters: 31096

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:04


Later, Padre, when I'd broken away from Julian, I wondered if he had made up the whole story. The cruel trick would be impishly characteristic! But I went straight to the concierge to ask about Muller. He said that a man of that name had called the night before, inquiring for me, and had talked with "the Monsieur who looked like an Italian." This practically convinced me that Julian hadn't lied.

If only I could get direct advice from you! Do try to send me an inspiration of what to do for the best.

My first impulse was to give Mother Beckett a faint hint of hope. But I dared not run the risk. If Paul Herter proved to be mistaken, it would be for her like losing her son a second time, and the dear one's strength might not be equal to the strain. After thinking and unthinking all night, I decided to keep silent until our two men returned from the British front. Then, perhaps, I might tell Brian of the message from Doctor Paul, and ask his opinion about speaking to Father Beckett. As for myself, I resolved not to make any confession, unless it were certain that Jim lived. And I'm not sure, Padre, whether that decision was based on sheer, selfish cowardice, or whether I founded it partly on the arguments I presented to myself. I said in my mind: "If it's true that everything you did in the beginning was for Brian's good, why undo it all at the most critical hour of his life, when perhaps there may never be any reason to speak?" Also I said: "Why make it impossible for yourself to give Mother Beckett the care she needs, and can hardly do without yet? Every day counts with her now. Why not wait unless you hear again more definitely?"

The annoying part of a specious argument is that there's always some truth in it, and it seems like kind advice from wise friends!

Anyhow, I did wait. Julian made no further appeal to me, and I felt sure that he said nothing to Dierdre. If he had taken her into his confidence, I should have known by her manner; because, from the shut-up, night-flower of a girl that she was, she has rather pathetically opened out for me into a daylight flower. All this since she came of her own free will and told me of the scene in the chill boarding house salon at Soissons. I used to think her as secret as the grave-and deeper. She used to make me "creep" as if a mouse ran over mine, by the way her eyes watched me: still as a cat's looking into the fire. If we had to shake hands, she used to present me with a limp little bunch of cold fingers, which made me long to ask what the deuce she wanted me to do with them? Now, because I'm Brian's sister, and because I'm human enough to love her love of him, the flower-part of her nature sheds perfume and distils honey for me: the cat-part purrs; the girl-part warms. The creature actually deigns to like me! It could not now conceal its anxiety for Brian and Brian's kith and kin, if it knew what Julian knows.

I waited until our last day at Amiens, and Father Beckett, Brian, and Sirius are back from the British front. Perhaps I forgot to tell you that Sirius went. He wasn't on the programme, but he knew somehow that his master was planning a separation, and refused to fall in with the scheme. He was discovered in the motor-car when it was ready to start, looking his best, his dear face parted in the middle with an irresistible, ingratiating smile. When Brian tried to put him out he flattened himself, and clung like a limpet. By Father Beckett's intercession, he was eventually taken, trusting to luck for toleration by the British Army. Of course he continued to smile upon all possible arbiters of his fate; and the drama of his history, combined with the pathos of his blind master who fought on these battlefields of Flanders, which now he cannot see, made Brian's Sirius and Sirius's Brian person? grat? everywhere.

"I should have been nobody and nothing without them!" modestly insisted the millionaire philanthropist for whom all the privileges of the trip had been granted.

To me, with the one thought, the one word "Jim-Jim-Jim!" repeating in my head it was strange, even irrelevant to hear Jim's unsuspecting father and my blind brother discoursing of their adventures.

We all assembled in Mother Beckett's sitting room to listen to the recital, she on a sofa, a rug over her feet, and on her transparent face an utterly absorbed, tense expression rather like a French spaniel trying to learn an English trick.

Father Beckett appointed Brian as spokesman, and then in his excitement broke in every instant with: "Don't forget this! Be sure to remember that! But so-and-so was the best!" Or he jumped up from his chair by the sofa, and dropped his wife's hand to point out something on the map, spread like a cloth over the whole top of a bridge-table.

It was his finger that sketched for our eyes the sharp triangle which the road-journey had formed: Amiens to Albert: Albert to Péronne: Péronne to Bapaume: Bapaume to Arras: Arras to Bethune, and so on to Ypres: his finger that reminded Brian of the first forest on the road-a forest full of working German prisoners.

At Pont-Noyelles, between Amiens and Albert, they were met by an officer who was to be their guide for that part of the British front which they were to visit. He was sent from headquarters, but hadn't been able to afford time for Amiens. However, Pont-Noyelles was the most interesting place between there and Albert. A tremendous battle was fought on that spot in '70, between the French under famous General Faidherbe and the Germans under Manteuffel-a perfect name for a German general of these days, if not of those! There were two monuments to commemorate the battle-one high on a hill above the village; and the officer guide (with the face of a boy and the grim experience of an Old Contemptible) was well up in their history. He turned out to be a friend of friends of Brian and knew the history of Sirius as well as that of all the war-wasted land. He and Brian, though they'd never met, had fought near each other it seemed, and he could describe for the blind eyes all the changes that had come upon the Somme country since Brian's "day." The roads which had been remade by the British over the shell-scarred and honeycombed surface of the land; the aerodromes; the training-camps; the tanks; the wonderful new railways for troops and ammunition: the bands of German prisoners docilely at work.

When the great gray car stopped, throbbing, at special

view-points here and there, it was Brian who could listen for a lark's message of hope among the billowing downs, or draw in the tea-rose scent of earth from some brown field tilled by a woman. It was Father Beckett who saw the horrors of desolation-desolation more hideous even than on the French front; because, since the beginning, here had burned the hottest furnace of war: here had fallen a black, never-ceasing rain of bombardment, night and day, day and night, year after year.

It was the cherubic Old Contemptible who could tell

each detail of war-history, when the car reached Albert. It was Brian who knew the ancient legend of the place, and the modern story of the spy, which, together, double the dramatic interest of the Bending Virgin. In the eleventh century a shepherd boy discovered, in a miraculous way, a statue of the Virgin. There was a far-off sound of music at night, when he was out in search of strayed sheep, and being young he forgot his errand in curiosity to learn whence came the mysterious chanting, accompanied by the silver notes of a flute. The boy wandered in the direction of the delicate sounds, and to his amazement found all the lost flock grazing round a statue which appeared to have risen from the earth. On that spot was built the basilica of Notre-Dame de Brébières, which became a place of pilgrimage. The Virgin of the Shepherds was supposed to send her blessings far, far over the countryside, and her gilded image, with the baby Christ in her arms, was a flaming beacon at sunrise and sunset. Thus on her high tower the golden Lady stood when the war began. Albert was pitilessly bombarded, and with a startling accuracy which none could understand: yet the church itself, with its temptingly high tower, remained intact. Through October, 1914, the shining figure blazed against the sky, while houses fell in all quarters of the town: but on November 1st, three bombs struck the church. They were the first heavy drops of rain in a thunderstorm. The roof crashed in: and presently the pedestal of the Virgin received a shattering blow. This was on the very day when Albert discovered why for so long the church had been immune. A spy had been safely signalling from the tower, telling German gunners how and where to strike with the most damage to the town. When all the factories which gave wealth to Albert, and the best houses, had been methodically destroyed, the spy silently stole away: and the Virgin of the Shepherds then bent over, face down, to search for this black sheep of the fold. Ever since she with the sacred Child in her arms has hung thus suspended in pity and blessing over mountainous piles of wreckage which once composed the market-place. She will not crash to earth, Albert believes, till the war is over. But so loved is she in her posture of protection that the citizens propose to keep her in it for ever to commemorate the war-history of Albert, when Albert is rebuilt for future generations.

From there the gray car ran on almost due east to Péronne, out of the country of Surrey-like, Chiltern-like downs, into a strange marshy waste, where the river Somme expands into vast meres, swarming with many fish. It looked, Father Beckett said, "Like a bit of the world when God had just begun to create life out of chaos."

Poor Péronne! In its glorious days of feudal youth its fortress-castle was invincible. The walls were so thick that in days before gunpowder no assaults could hope to break through them. Down in its underground depths was a dungeon, where trapped enemy princes lay rotting and starving through weary years, never released save by death, unless tortured into signing shameful treaties. The very sound of the name, "Péronne," is an echo of history, as Brian says. Hardly a year-date in the Middle Ages could be pricked by a pin without touching some sensational event going on at that time at Péronne. I remember this from my schooldays; and more clearly still from "Quentin Durward," which I have promised to read aloud to Mother Beckett. I remember the Scottish monks who were established at Péronne in the reign of Clovis. I remember how Charles the Bold of Burgundy (who died outside Nancy's gates) imprisoned wicked Louis XI in a strong tower of the chateau, one of the four towers with conical roofs, like extinguishers of giant candles and kingly reputations! I remember best of all the heroine of Péronne, Catherine de Poix, "la belle Péronnaise," who broke with her own hand the standard of Charles's royal flag, in the siege of 1536, threw the bearer into the fosse, and saved the city.

When Wellington took the fortress in 1814, he did not desecrate or despoil the place: it was left for the Germans to do that, just a century later in the progress of civilization! My blood grew hot as I heard from our two men the story of what the new Vandals had done. Just for a moment I almost forgot the secret burning in my heart. The proud pile of historic stone brought to earth at last, like a soldier-king, felled by an axe in his old age: the statue of Catherine thrown from its pedestal, and replaced in mockery by a foolish manikin-this as a mean revenge for what she did to the standard-bearer, most of Charles's men in the siege being Germans, under Henry of Nassau.

"Toujours Francs-Péronnais

Auront bon jour,

Toujours et en tout temps

Francs-Péronnais auront bon temps,"

the girls used to sing in old days as they wove the wonderful linens and tissues of Péronne, or embroidered banners of gorgeous colours to commemorate the saving of the Picard city by Catherine: as Brian repeated to Father Beckett wandering through the ruins redeemed last spring for France by the British. And though Brian's eyes could not see the rubbish-heap where once had soared the citadel he saw through the mystic veil of his blindness many things which others did not see.

It seems that above these marshy flats of the Somme, where the river has wandered away from the hills and disguised itself in shining lakes, gauzy mists always hover. Brian had seen them with bodily eyes, while he was a soldier. Now, with the eyes of his spirit he saw them again, gleaming with the delicate, indescribable colours which only blind eyes can call up to lighten darkness. He saw the fleecy clouds streaming over Péronne like a vast, transparent ghost-banner. He saw on their filmy folds, as if traced in blue and gold and royal purple, the ever famous scene on the walls when Catherine and her following beat back Nassau's men from the one breach where they might have captured the town. And this mystic banner of the spirit Germans can never capture or desecrate. It will wave over Péronne-what was Péronne, and what will again be Péronne-while the world goes on making history for free men.

After Péronne, Bapaume: the battered corpse of Bapaume, murdered in flame that reddened all the skies of Picardy before the British came to chase the Germans out!

In old times, when a place was destroyed the saying was, "Not one stone is left upon another." But in this war, destruction means an avalanche of stones upon each other. Bapaume as Father Beckett saw it, is a Herculaneum unexcavated. Beneath lie buried countless precious things, and still more precious memories; the feudal grandeur of the old chateau where Philippe-Auguste married proud Isabelle de Hainaut, with splendid ceremony as long ago as 1180: the broken glory of ancient ramparts, where modern lovers walked till the bugles of August 2, 1914, parted them for ever; the arcaded Town Hall, old as the domination of the Spaniards in Picardy; the sixteenth-century church of St. Nicolas with its quaint Byzantine Virgin of miracles: the statue of Faidherbe who beat back the German wave from Bapaume in 1871: all, all burned and battered, and mingled inextricably with débris of pitiful little homes, nobles' houses, rich shops and tiny boutiques, so that, when Bapaume rises from the dead, she will rise as one-even as France has risen.

Of the halting places on this pilgrimage along the British front, I should best have liked to be with Brian and Father Beckett at Arras. Brian and I were there together you know, Padre, on that happy-go-lucky tramping tour of ours-not long before I met Jim. We both loved Arras, Brian and I, and spent a week there in the most fascinating of ancient hotels. It had been a palace; and I had a huge room, big enough for the bedchamber of a princess (princesses should always have bedchambers, never mere bedrooms!) with long windows draped like the walls and stiff old furniture, in yellow satin. I was frightened when an aged servant with the air of a pontiff ushered me in; for Brian and I were travelling "on the cheap." But Arras, though delicious in its quaint charm, never attracted hordes of ordinary tourists. Consequently one could have yellow satin hangings without being beggared.

Oh, how happy we were in that hotel, and in the adorable old town! While Brian painted in the Grande Place and the Petite Place, and sketched the

Abbey of St. Waast (who brought Christianity to that part of the world) I wandered alone. I used to stand every evening till my neck ached, staring up at the beautiful belfry, to watch the swallows chase each other back and forth among the bells, whose peal was music of fairyland. And I never tired of wandering through the arcades under the tall old Flemish houses with their overhanging upper storeys, or peeping into the arcades' cool shadows, from the middle of the sunlit squares.

There were some delightful shops in those arcades, where they sold antique Flemish furniture, queer old pictures showing Arras in her proud, treaty-making days (you know what a great place she was for treaty-making!) and lovely faded tapestries said to be "genuinely" of the time when no one mentioned a piece of tapestry save as an "arras." But the shop I haunted was a cake-shop. It was called "Au C?ur d'Arras," because the famous speciality of Arras was a heart-shaped cake; but I wasn't lured there so much by the charm of les c?urs as by that of the person who sold them.

I dare say I described her to you in letters, or when I got back to England after that trip. The most wonderful old lady who ever lived! She didn't welcome her customers at all. She just sat and knitted. She had an architectural sort of face, framed with a crust of snow-I mean, a frilled cap! And if one furtively stared, she looked at one down her nose, and made one feel cheap and small as if one had snored, or hiccupped out aloud in a cathedral! But it seems I won her esteem by enquiring if "les c?urs d'Arras" had a history. Nobody else had ever shown enough intelligence to care! So she gave me the history of the cakes, and of everything else in Arras; also, before we went away, she escorted Brian and me into a marvellous cellar beneath her shop. It went down three storeys and had fireplaces and a well! The earth under La Grande Place was honeycombed with such souterrains, she said. They'd once been quarries, in days so old as to be forgotten-quarries of "tender stone" (what a nice expression!), and the people of Arras had cemented and made them habitable in case of bombardment. They must have been useful in 1914!

As for the cakes, they were invented by an abbess who was sent to Spain. Before reluctantly departing, she gave the recipe to her successor, saying she "left her heart in Arras." According to the legend (the old shop-lady assured me) a girl who had never loved was certain to fall in love within a month after first eating a Heart of Arras. Well, Padre, I ate almost a hundred hearts, and less than a month after I met Jim!

You may believe that I asked Brian and Father Beckett a dozen questions at once about dear Arras. But alas, alas! all the answers were sad.

The beautiful belfry? Only a phantom remaining. The H?tel de Ville? Smashed. La Grande Place-La Petite Place? Stone quarries above ground as well as below, the old Flemish fa?ades crumbled like sheets of barley sugar. The arcades? Ruined. The charming old shops? Vanished. The seller of Hearts? Dead. But the Hearts-they still existed! The children of Arras who have come back "since the worst was over" (that is their way of putting it!) would not feel that life was life without the Arras Hearts. Besides, Arras without the Hearts would be like the Altar of the Vestal Virgins without the ever-burning lamp. So they are still baked, and still eaten, those brave little Hearts of Arras-and Brian asked Father Beckett to bring me a box.

They bought it of a cousin of my old woman, an ancient man who had lurked in a cellar during the whole of the bombardment. He said that all Arras knew, in September, 1914, how the Kaiser had vowed to march into the town in triumph, and how, when he found the place as hard to take "as quicksilver is to grasp," he revenged himself by destroying its best-beloved treasures. He must have rejoiced that July day of 1915, when Wolff's Agency was able to announce at last, that the Abbey of St. Waast and its museum were in flames!

As the gray car bumped on to Bethune, Vimy Ridge floated blue in the far distance, to the right of the road, and Father Beckett and Brian took off their hats to it. Still farther away, and out of sight lay Lens, in German possession, but practically encircled by the British. The Old Contemptible had been there, and described the town as having scarcely a roof left, but being an "ant heap" of Boches, who swarm in underground shelters bristling with machine guns. Between Lens and the road stood the celebrated Colonne de Condé, showing where the prince won his great victory over Spain; and farther on, within gun-sound distance though out of sight, lay Loos, on the Canal de l'Haute Deule. Who thinks nowadays of its powerful Cistercian Abbey, that dominated the country round? Who thinks twice, when travelling this Appian Way which Germany has given France, of any history which began or ended before the year 1914?

Bethune they found still existing as a town. It has been bombarded often but not utterly destroyed, and from there they ran out four miles to Festubert, because the little that the Germans have left of the thirteenth-century church and village, burns with an eternal flame of interest.

Bethune itself was a famous fortress once, full of history and legend: but isn't the whole country in its waste and ruin, like a torn historic banner, crusted with jewels-magic jewels, which cannot be stolen by enemy hands?

On the way to Ypres-crown and climax of the tour-the car passed Lillers and Hazebrouck, places never to be forgotten by hearts that beat in the battles of Flanders. Then came the frontier at Steenwoorde; and they were actually in Belgium, passing Poperinghe to Ypres, the most famous British battleground of the war.

When Brian was fighting, and when you were on earth, Padre, everyone talked about the "Ypres Salient." Now, though for soldiers Ypres will always be the "salient" since the battle of Wytschaete Ridge, the material salient has vanished. Yet the same trenches exist, in the same gray waste which Brian used to paint in those haunting, impressionist war sketches of his that all London talked about, after the Regent Street exhibition that he didn't even try for leave to see! The critics spoke of the mysterious, spiritual quality of his work, which gave "without sentimentality" picturesqueness to the shell-holes and mud, the shattered trees and wooden crosses, under eternally dreaming skies.

Well, Brian tells me that going back as a blind man to the old scenes, he had a strange, thrilling sense of seeing them-seeing more clearly than before those effects of mysterious beauty, hovering with prophecy above the squalor of mud and blood, hovering and mingling as the faint light of dawn mingles, at a certain hour, with the shadows of night. People used to call his talent a "blend of vision with reality." Now, all that is left him is "vision"-vision of the spirit. But with help-I used to think it would be my help: now I realize it will be Dierdre's-who knows what extraordinary things my blind Brian may accomplish? His hope is so beautiful, and so strong, that it has lit an answering flame of hope in me.

He and I were in Ypres for a few days, just about the time I was wondering why "Jim Wyndham" didn't keep his promise to find me again. It was in Ypres, I remember, that I came across the box of "C?urs d'Arras" I'd brought with me. Opening it, I recalled the legend about a girl who has never loved, falling in love within a month after first eating an Arras Heart. It was then I said to myself, "Why, it has come true! I have fallen in love with Jim Wyndham-and he has forgotten me!"

Oh, Padre, how that pain comes back to me now, in the midst of the new pain, like the "core of the brilliance within the brilliance!" Which hurt is worse, to love a man, and believe oneself forgotten, or to love and know one has been loved, and then become unworthy? I can't be sure. I can't even be sure that, if I could, I would go back to being the old self before I committed the one big sin of my life, which gave me Jim's father and mother, and the assurance that he had cared. For a while, after Mother Beckett told me about Jim's love for "The Girl," in spite of my wickedness I glowed with a kind of happiness. I felt that, through all the years of my life-even when I grew old-Jim would be mine, young, handsome, gay, just as I had seen him on the Wonderful Day: that I could always run away from outside things and shut the gate of the garden on myself and Jim-that rose-garden on the border of Belgium. Now, when I know-or almost know-that he will come back in the flesh to despise me, and that the gate of the garden will be forever shut-why, I shall be punished as perhaps no woman has ever been punished before. Still-still I can't be sure that I would escape, if I could, by going back to my old self!

It is writing of Belgium, and my days there with Brian while I still hoped to see Jim, that brings all these thoughts crowding so thickly to my mind, they seem to drip off my pen!

But what a different Ypres Father Beckett has now seen, and Brian felt, from that dear, pleasant Ypres into which we two drove in a cart, along a cobbled causeway as straight as a tight-drawn string! Tourists who loved the blue, and yellow, and red bath-houses on the golden beach of Ostend, didn't worry to motor over the bumpy road, through the Flemish plain to Ypres. The war was needed to bring its sad fame to "Wipers!" But Brian and I interrupted our walking tour with that cart, because we knew that the interminable causeway would take us deep into the inner quaintness of Flanders. We adored it all: and at every stopping-place on the twenty-mile road, I had the secret joy of whispering; "Perhaps it is here that He will suddenly appear, and meet us!"

There was one farmhouse on the way, where I longed to have him come. I wanted him so much that I almost created him! I was listening every moment, and through every sound, for his car. It never came. But because I so wished the place to be a background for our meeting I can see the two large living-rooms of the old house, with the black-beamed ceilings, the Flemish stoves, the tall, carved sideboards and chests with armorial bearings, the deep window-seats that were flower-stands and work-tables combined, and the shelves of ancient pottery and gleaming, antique brass. There was a comfortable fragrance of new-baked bread, mingling with the spicy scent of grass-pinks, in that house: and the hostess who gave us luncheon-a young married woman-had a mild, sweet face, strongly resembling that of St. Geneviève of Brabant, as pictured in a coloured lithograph on the wall.

St. Geneviève's story is surely the most romantic, the most pathetic of any saint who ever deigned to tread on earth!-and her life and death might serve as an allegory of Belgium's martyrdom, poor Belgium, the little country whose patron she is. Since that day at the farmhouse on the road to Ypres, I've thought often of the gentle face with its forget-me-not eyes and golden hair; and of Golo the dark persecutor who-they say now-was a real person and an ancestor of the Hohenzollerns through the first Duc de Bavière.

At Ypres, Brian painted for me a funny "imagination picture" imitating earliest Flemish work. It showed Ypres when there was no town save a few tiny houses and a triangular stronghold, with a turret at each corner, built on a little island in the river Yperlee. He named the picture "The Castle of the Three Strong Towers," and dated it in the year 900. A thousand years have passed since then. Slowly, after much fighting (the British fought as hard to take Ypres once, as they fight to save it now), the town grew great and powerful, and became the capital of Flanders. The days of the rough earthen stockades and sharp thorn-bush defences of "Our Lady of the Enclosures" passed on to the days of casemates and moats; and still on, to the days when the old fortifications could be turned into ornamental walks-days of quaintly beautiful architecture, such as Brian and I saw before the war, when we spent hours in the Grand' Place, admiring the wonderful Cloth Hall and the Spanish-looking Nieuwerck. The people of Ypres told us proudly that nothing in Bruges itself, or anywhere in Flanders, could compare with those noble buildings massed together at the west end of the Grand' Place, each stone of which represented so much wealth of the richest merchant kings of Europe.

And now, the work of those thousand busy years has crumbled in a few monstrous months, like the sand-houses of children when the tide comes in! What Father Beckett saw of Ypres after three years' bombardment, was not much more than that shown in Brian's picture, dated 900! A blackened wall or two and a heap of rubble where stood the Halle des Drapiers-pride of Ypres since the thirteenth century-its belfry, its statues, its carvings, its paintings, all vanished like the contours and colours of a sunset cloud. The cathedral is a skeleton. Hardly a pointed gable is left to tell where the quaint and prosperous houses once grouped cosily together. Ypres the town is a mourner draped in black with the stains of fire which killed its beauty and joy. But there is a glory that can never be killed, a glory above mere beauty, as a living soul is above the dead body whence it has risen. That glory is Ypres. She is a ghost, but she is an inspiration, a name of names, a jewel worth dying for-"worth giving a man's eyes for," Brian says!

"Has your brother told you about the man we met at the Visitors' Chateau?" asked Father Beckett, when between the two men-and my reminiscences-the story of the tour was finished with those last words of Brian's.

"No, I haven't told her yet," Brian answered for me.

My nerves jumped. I scarcely knew what I expected to hear. "Not Doctor Paul Herter?" I exclaimed-and was surprised to hear on my own lips the name so constantly in my mind.

"Well, that's queer she should speak of him, isn't it, Brian? How did you come to think of Herter?" Father Beckett wanted to know.

"Was it he?" I insisted.

"No. But-you'd better tell her, Brian. I guess you'll have to."

"There isn't much to tell, really," Brian said. "It was only that oculist chap Herter told you about-Dr. Henri Chrevreuil. He's been working at the front, as you know: lately it's been the British front; and they'd taken him in at the chateau for a few days' rest. We met him there and talked of his friend-your friend, Molly-Doctor Paul."

"What did he say about your eyes?" Dierdre almost gasped. (I should not have ventured to put the question suddenly, and before people. I should have been too afraid of the answer. But her nickname is "Dare!") "He must have said something, or Mr. Beckett wouldn't have spoken so. He did look at your eyes-didn't he? He would, for Herter's sake."

"Yes, he did look at them," Brian admitted. "He didn't say much."

"But what-what?"

"He said: 'Wait, and-see.'"

"And see!" Dierdre echoed.

The same thought was in all our minds. As I gazed mutely at Brian, he gave me the most beautiful smile of his life. He must have felt that I was looking at him, or he would not so have smiled. Let Jim hate and-punish me when he comes back, and drive me out of Paradise! Wherever I may go, there will be the reflection of that smile and the thought behind it. How can I be unhappy, if Brian need only wait, to see?

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