The Anatomy of Love/Chapter 17

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p. 670.


The evening train that connected the Arcadian village of Cedar Hills with a hurrying and fretting outside” world was an “accommodation,” apparently touched with the tranquillity of the quiet valleys through which it crept.

Yet Anne and Macraven, alone on the back platform of the last coach, seemed to find their rate of travel quite fast enough.

They did not talk much, that solitary couple, but their very silences seemed companionable and eloquent of things unuttered, as they sat there hand in hand, swaying to the movement of the car along the rough roadbed.

Macraven looked upward at the stars.

“That is Venus, see, marching up out of the east,” he said. “And those are the Pleiades, there, just above us. And there, to the north, is the Great Bear, wheeling about the Polar Star——

“As life wheels about love,” interrupted Anne softly.

“No, as I must always wheel about you,” solemnly corrected Macraven. “For that is the North Star, and it never moves. It is as true and steadfast as—as Anne herself. And that is the way my life shall always turn and revolve about her, from this day on!”

“Do you know that you're a rhapsodist, after all?” murmured Anne happily.

“Sybil said I was a bug hunter,” he demurred. “Poor Sybil!”

“Yes, poor Sybil!” Anne murmured. “After all, she was sorry to see us as go!”

“And you were never really jealous of her?” asked the man of truth, a little uneasily.

Anne looked up from his shoulder.

“Of course not,” she answered. “No more than I could be of a bunch of lilacs that took your mind off your work, or a bird that made your holiday seem brighter. No, I'm glad of Sybil! I feel grateful to think that you knew her—for it was Sybil who helped to bring us to—to each other!”

“Who helped me,” he corrected.

There was silence for a moment or two, and then he said:

“I must see what I can do for young Sewell when I get back, for her sake.”

The pressure of Anne's hand on his arm was her grateful response to this.

“Do you know,” he said to Anne, “I always used to think that we had to look down on life from one of two towers, I mean from one of two opposing and incongruous heights. One was built of granite, huge and grim and hard—I suppose you would call it the tower of labor.”

“It stood just beyond the deanery gardens, didn't it?” interrupted Anne.

“But the other tower was different,” went on Macraven. “It was made of ivory, tall and fragile and slender. And it always seemed to me a tower of dreams, the home of beauty and aspiration. But now I know there can and should be only one tower in every man's life. It must be of granite beneath—it must be bedded on actualities—but it should be tipped with the fairest of ivory—crowned and beautified, I mean, with young-heartedness and happiness.”

“What made you think of that?” she asked.

“It was you who taught it to me,” was his answer.

“Silly!” she murmured happily, against his supporting shoulder.