Nevertheless, she had her father’s taste and capacity for seeing accurately and enjoying the simple uses of observation, with also, in a measure, what he somewhat lacked—the aunt’s unending joy in all humor; sharing with her the privilege of finding a smile or a laugh where others, who lack this magic, can only conjure sadness. She saw with mental directness, and, where her affections were not concerned, acted without the hesitations which perplex the inadequate thinker bioderma matricium .

Her aunt, to whom she bore some resemblance in face, had learned much in a life of nearly constant 8sickness, but never the power to restrain her fatal incisiveness of speech. She could hurt herself with it as well as annoy others, as she well knew. But in her niece, keenness of perception and large sense of the ridiculous were put to no critical uses. The simple kindliness of her mother was also hers.

At times in life permanent qualities of mind vary in the importance of the use we make of them. Rose was now in the day of questions. Everything interested her: an immense curiosity sharpened her naturally acute mental vision; an eloquently imaginative nature kept her supplied with endless queries. The hour of recognized limitations had not yet struck for her. Now she set the broad sails of a willing mood, and gave herself up to the influences of the time and place. Deep darkness was about her. The sky seemed to be low above her. The dusky hills appeared to be close at hand on each side. The water looked, as it rose to left and right, as though the sky, the waves, the hills were crowding in upon her, and she, sped by rhythmic paddles, was flitting through a lane of narrowing gloom.

The impression I describe, of being walled in at night by water, hill, and sky , is familiar to the more sensitive of those who are wise enough to find their holiday by wood and stream. The newness of the sensation charmed the girl. Then in turn came to her the noise of the greater rapids, as, after two hours, the river became more swift.

Twice she had spoken; but twice the dark guide had made clear to her that he needed all his wits about him, and once he had altogether failed to answer her or, perhaps, to hear at all. But now the 9clouds began to break, and the night became clear, so that all objects were more easily discernible. “Is your name Polycarp?” she said, at last, turning as she sat to look back at the impassive figure in the stern reenex hong kong. .

There was a large, low-raftered room, covered with birch-bark of many tints. On each side were two chambers, for the elders. The boys, to their joy, were to sleep in tents on the bluff, near to where the tents of the guides were pitched, a little away from the cabin, and back of a roaring camp-fire. Behind the house a smaller cabin sufficed for a kitchen, and in the log-house, where also a fire blazed in ruddy welcome, not ungrateful after the coolness of the river, the supper-table was already set. As Rose got up from table, after the meal, she missed her mother, and, taking a shawl, went out onto the porch which surrounded the house on all sides.

WITH the best intentions in the world Francis could not overcome the inevitable dislike with which Frederic’s mere presence inspired him. He could not bring himself to speak more than three words to him or to make any inquiry into his affairs. Frederic also suffered under the constraint of the secret they shared, and relieved the situation by absenting himself as much as possible from the house. His fiancée made that easy by her extensive demands upon his time and he became more a member of her family than of his own . Francis kept his word with Annie Lipsett, and every week sent her ten shillings, and, knowing that his wife opened his letters, got her to write, when she had anything to say, to Serge. His conscience was very uneasy about the whole affair, but he knew that if he did not do what he was doing no one else would, and he could not bring himself to righteous acceptance of the conclusions of his premises, that, after all, the girl had brought it on herself, and, like hundreds of others, must fight through the consequences alone and unaided Elevit. “If I knew the hundreds of others,” he said to himself, “I could not possibly help them all. I could not afford it. . . . Can I afford to help this young woman? . . . I cannot, but I must.” He submitted to this moral imperative, but he could not away with the idea that he was encouraging immorality. That idea became fixed, an obsession. It worried him so much that he decided to go and see the young woman and [Pg 219]make quite sure as to the state of her mind, to demonstrate if necessary that though things were being made comfortable and easy for her in this world she could not hope to escape the punishment for her sin in the next . Accordingly one Saturday he resolved to take the ten shillings himself instead of sending them by post. Annie Lipsett was staying in a farm labourer’s cottage near a village some fifteen miles away to the south. It was a keen autumn day when Francis walked along the lanes between hedges aflame with hips and haws and red blackberry leaves, and green with holly berries, and he asked himself why he did not devote every Saturday afternoon to a walk in the country. The cold air filled his lungs and the wind blew in his beard and brought the colour to his round cheeks. The trees were burning with colour, the sun shone scarcely warm through the soft mist that lay over the country-side. . . . Decidedly, he must often take such walks and bring Annette. How she would love the orchards, glowing with red apples and plums, and yellow with pears, and the cows and the green fields and the little rivers. Annette would love them all. They would make a habit of it, every Saturday, and they would see all the seasons come and live and pass. If his thoughts of Annette were gentle and indulgent, he found it hard to extend his kindliness to Bennett. Young men would be young men, but they should leave young women alone. (Francis, still regarded young women as generically and fundamentally different from young men. To him young women who took any active part in the affairs of love were abnormal and unmaidenly. What exactly young men were to do with their ardour or where to present it, he did not know, and he was unconscious of any discrepancy in his thoughts.) The personal factor entered into his contemplation of this side of the pother. He told himself that Bennett had treated him very badly, had accepted his hospitality for years, received his indulgence in his affairs with Gertrude, his—to be sure, unsuccessful—assistance in the furtherance of his clerical ambitions, and then, secretly, with cunning and deceitfulness, he had played upon Annette’s young and innocent affections. There was an easy satisfaction in thus angrily vilifying Bennett, but it did not last long, for it led to a conception of Annette which did not sort with her nature as he knew it. She had always been curiously self-reliant and, quite clearly, fully cognisant of the facts of her existence and the purposes of her womanhood. Still he was reluctant to relinquish Bennett from the talons of his wrath. He was going to take Annette away, and could give no guarantee of his ability to provide for her and make her secure against the devastating influences of the hard struggle for daily bread. With his instinct for justice he asked himself what else they had to offer Annette, and, further, what they had given her from day to day ever since her return—drudgery, unending toil, a monotonous, trivial, and unrewarded activity. That brought him hotly near the heart of the mystery, but he turned his back on it, only to find himself most vividly remembering his visit to the house of the Lawries, and finding in that the explanation of Bennett’s share in the preposterous marriage. He had wondered then what would become of Bennett. [Pg 249]Now he was answered. . . . Presumably Mrs. Lawrie had not been misinformed. Obviously not. Her vituperation came from a fury of despair, a hopelessness in the face of a new turn of fate, which he felt to be so degrading that he desired to avoid it. Clearly there was nothing to be done. If it was salutary by a heavy use of the tongue to lacerate Annette and bring her to a sense of the seriousness of the thing she had done, he would—but he reflected that his wife would do all that and more than was necessary in that kind. For himself then there was nothing to be done and nothing to be said. If they found it impossible—as was more than likely—to live on Bennett’s income, something must be done to help them. Both families must contribute. . . For a moment he thought fantastically that the solution might be to ignore their marriage altogether, and keep Annette at home until Bennett could afford to keep her. He knew that for folly. If passion had so far blinded their reason that they had rushed into an insoluble compact, to thwart and repress it would be to invite unimagined disaster.