He told her of what had been done at the works. Arthur's plan had succeeded. It might not be the last word, but at least it was on the road to the right end. The men had been brought into it and shared the management. And the disasters predicted had proved groundless.
"You won't be able to indulge in all your mad schemes," he laughed, "but there'll be enough to help on a few. And you will be among friends.
Arthur told me he had explained it to you and that you had agreed."
"Yes," she answered. "It was the last time he came to see me in London.
And I could not help feeling a bit jealous. He was doing things while I was writing and talking. But I was glad he was an Allway. It will be known as the Allway scheme. New ways will date from it."
She had thought it time for him to return indoors, but he pleaded for a visit to his beloved roses. He prided himself on being always able to pick roses on Christmas Day.
"This young man of yours," he asked, "what is he like?"
"Oh, just a Christian gentleman," she answered. "You will love him when you know him."
He laughed. "And this new journal of his?" he asked. "It's got to be published in London, hasn't it?"
She gave a slight start, for in their letters to one another they had been discussing this very point.
"No," she answered, "it could be circulated just as well from, say, Birmingham or Manchester."
He was choosing his roses. They held their petals wrapped tight round them, trying to keep the cold from their brave hearts. In the warmth they would open out and be gay, until the end.
"Not Liverpool?" he suggested.
"Or even Liverpool," she laughed.
They looked at one another, and then beyond the sheltering evergreens and the wide lawns to where the great square house seemed to be listening.
"It's an ugly old thing," he said.
"No, it isn't," she contradicted. "It's simple and big and kind. I always used to feel it disapproved of me. I believe it has come to love me, in its solemn old brick way."
"It was built by Kent in seventeen-forty for your great-great grandfather," he explained. He was regarding it more affectionately.
"Solid respectability was the dream, then."
"I think that's why I love it," she said: "for it's dear, old-fashioned ways. We will teach it the new dreams, too. It will be so shocked, at first."
They dined in state in the great dining-room.
"I was going to buy you a present," he grumbled. "But you wouldn't let me get up."
"I want to give you something quite expensive, Dad," she said. "I've had my eye on it for years."
She slipped her hand in his. "I want you to give me that Dream of yours; that you built for my mother, and that all went wrong. They call it Allway's Folly; and it makes me so mad. I want to make it all come true.
May I try?"
It was there that he came to her.
She stood beneath the withered trees, beside the shattered fountain. The sad-faced ghosts peeped out at her from the broken windows of the little silent houses.
She wondered later why she had not been surprised to see him. But at the time it seemed to be in the order of things that she should look up and find him there.
She went to him with outstretched arms.
"I'm so glad you've come," she said. "I was just wanting you."
They sat on the stone step of the fountain, where they were sheltered from the wind; and she b.u.t.toned his long coat about him.
"Do you think you will go on doing it?" he asked, with a laugh.
"I'm so afraid," she answered gravely. "That I shall come to love you too much: the home, the children and you. I shall have none left over."
"There is an old Hindoo proverb," he said: "That when a man and woman love they dig a fountain down to G.o.d."
"This poor, little choked-up thing," he said, "against which we are sitting; it's for want of men and women drawing water, of children dabbling their hands in it and making themselves all wet, that it has run dry."
She took his hands in hers to keep them warm. The nursing habit seemed to have taken root in her.
"I see your argument," she said. "The more I love you, the deeper will be the fountain. So that the more Love I want to come to me, the more I must love you."
"Don't you see it for yourself?" he demanded.
She broke into a little laugh.
"Perhaps you are right," she admitted. "Perhaps that is why He made us male and female: to teach us to love."
A robin broke into a song of triumph. He had seen the sad-faced ghosts steal silently away.
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