A Voice in the Garden

Self-expression is perhaps the most dangerous reef in the matrimonial sea. and to steer clear is often a problem beyond solving. Through this tense little story of a writer, his wife, a famous violinist and another man, runs a note of idealism which may answer a question many have asked themselves

BEATRICE REDPATH December 1 1925

A Voice in the Garden

Self-expression is perhaps the most dangerous reef in the matrimonial sea. and to steer clear is often a problem beyond solving. Through this tense little story of a writer, his wife, a famous violinist and another man, runs a note of idealism which may answer a question many have asked themselves

BEATRICE REDPATH December 1 1925

A Voice in the Garden

BEATRICE REDPATH

Self-expression is perhaps the most dangerous reef in the matrimonial sea. and to steer clear is often a problem beyond solving. Through this tense little story of a writer, his wife, a famous violinist and another man, runs a note of idealism which may answer a question many have asked themselves

BRUCE COLLIER cursed himself for having come. Mrs. Whitelaw had run across him yesterday on the Avenue and had wrung from him a promise that he would drop in this afternoon around five o'clock, and he had a habit of keeping his promises. He had been o hard at work all his life that he had never gone about enough, to these sort of functions, to know that promises of this kind were only made to be broken. And now he was feeling as much out of place among all these effusive women as it was possible to feel.

He tried to steer a course through the crowd of women grouped about the occasional man, without upsetting cups held at perilous angles, and without drawing undue attention to himself. If Mrs. Whitelaw saw him crossing the room she would undoubtedly descend upon him and introduce him to a bevy of women to whom he would have nothing whatever to say. Mrs. Whitelaw was always so anxious to exhibit her lions, and he supposed he was in the way of being a very small one since his book had such a perfectly astonishing success this autumn. But the lion of the occasion, Mrs. Whitelaw had told him yesterday, was to be Lisa Fortuney, the violinist, who was causing such a sensation just at present.

“Her mother was a dear friend of mine,” Mrs. Whitelaw had explained in her gushing manner; “a dear creature but so despairingly silly. She ran away with her music master, poor soul. Of course no one ever heard of her again after that. But nowthe child is having quite an enormous success. Everyone is talking about little Lisa Fortuney. Oh, you’ve simply got to meet her."

But Bruce Collier had no desire whatever to meet her. He never cared to meet anyone who had quite suddenly stepped into prominence. They were usually so bathed in their own egotism. He had come solely for the reason that Mrs. Whitelawhad inadvertently wrung a promise from him, and now his object was to escape from her all-seeing eye. He knew that if she saw him she would pounce upon him and drag him up to be introduced to the guest of the afternoon.

He found the window seat tow-ards w-hich he had been making his way already occupied. A girl was sitting there alone, half hidden from the room by a large prickly fern. She looked at him, as he stood undecided whether he should make his w-ay back into the crowd or stay where he was.

“There’s room here,” she said in a friendly tone, “if you want to sit down.”

There was nothing else for him to do but to sit down beside her. He had an impression as he did so of extreme youth. Brown eyes looked steadily out at him from the shadow of a poke-shaped satin hat bordered w-ith white fur. and the brief black satin frock had the same bandings of fur. She was individual-looking rather than pretty.

“Why are you hiding away here?” he inquired, half amused by the self-possessed friendliness of her manner.

“There are so many people to whom one must be introduced. I got tired. Mrs. Whitelawis too kind. She went to find a Mr. Collier who had w-ritten some great new book of which everyone is talking. She says he is a great genius. But I don’t like people who have written books. They always expect you to have read them. They are so—so intolerant if you have nev-er heard of their book.”

Collier interrupted her with a spontaneous laugh. He looked with even more interest into the brown eyes shadowed by the white furred hat. They were solemn eyes, but he could imagine under some circumstances how they would dance with light.

“Why are you laughing?”

She w-as extraordinarily unaware of herself for anyone quite as young as she appeared to be. There was a faint foreign inflection in her voice. Who w-as she? he

wondered.

“T was just wondering who you were.”

' I'm Lisa Fortuney.”

“You—you?”

‘ Yes, me,” she replied nodding her head. ‘Have you heard of me, then?”

He laughed.

“Hasn’t everyone heard of you? I was asked here to meet you to-day.”

“That was why you were looking for a place to which to escape,” she said with discernment. “You said to yourself— why must I meet her? I have nothing whatever to say to her.

She will expect me to say that she plays divinely and I have never heard her play. I know,” she added, “that’s how everyone feels whom Mrs.

Whitelaw drags up to me.

It is all very tiresome and stupid. I was sitting here wishing I had not been so amiable as to come.”

“You are very discerning for your age,” Collier said, his eyes still laughing as he looked at her.

“My age. But I am twenty-five. My father was Russian. We grow old sooner in those countries than you do in yours. We have more that is serious to think about. I was brought up with music, always music, ever since I was an infant. And you must learn to feel before you can learn to play.”

“And the process of learning how to feel is an aging one,” Collier said, nodding. “Yes, you must learn how to feel. I suppose that is the basis of all art. For after all art is only feeling and emotion translated into terms of color or words or sound.”

She was looking across the room at the groups of well-dressed women, the flowers, the lights and soft gay colors, and he wondered ,studying her profile, the small blunt nose, the dark tender arch of her brows, the flower-shaped mouth, how she had learned to feel. She turned to him as though she had already read the question in his mind.

“You are wondering—is it not so?—how I have learned to feel. It is because I lived so close to a great love. I was so one with my beloved mother—we breathed the same air—thought the same thoughts, and it was through her that I felt some of her joy and, too, some of her agony at my father’s long illness and death. That is perhaps why I like best to play the big sombre pieces: Bach, Beethoven, Debussy and the Russian music, better than Chopin and the rest. Tunes and melody are for those people who must have rhymes to make a poem.”

He listened, wholly interested, while she talked, giving him vivid glimpses of her life; of her childhood in Russia, then France, and Italy. Occasionally his glance wandered from those dark reflective eyes down to the small white stockinged feet in black slippers that scarcely touched the floor. Her appearance was so oddly incongruous with her conversation.

“And you,” she said breaking off suddenly; “it is surely time for you to tell me something of yourself.”

He found it very easy to tell her anything in which she appeared to be interested, and she was interested in whatever he had to tell her.

“So,” she laughed, “so you are the man from whom I was trying to escape. And after all,” with a quick side glance, “I believe I like you.”

“I’m quite sure,” he said with sudden gravity, “that I like you.”

So much so that he couldn’t manage to get her out of his head. Nothing had ever happened to him before, like this, during all his thirty-four years of eager living.

He had known great numbers of women, but so far there had never been one whom he felt was particularly essential to his happiness and peace of mind. And yet the idea was ridiculous of marrying that child with her frank statement that all she cared about was music— even if she would have him. He didn’t imagine that the thought of marriage had ever entered her head. He assured himself that all he felt was the glamor of her personality; the force of her genius; and that on a second meeting all that he fancied he felt for her would be dissipated.

He telephoned to her on the following day to know if he could call and see her, certain in his mind that a second meeting would not enslave him further. The curious little foreign tones of her voice coming to him over the telephone made him smile to himself quite inanely as he put up the receiver.

And he only gave himself another picture of her to float incessantly before him. A picture, this time, of her sitting stiffly in a large chair, with gleaming black hair, demurely folded hands, and slim, crossed ankles. So inexpressibly sweet he found those demurely folded hands; so heartrendingly absurd those small, crossed feet.

Since that visit had succeeded so poorly in its purpose he went again and yet again, until the day he told her with authority in his voice and a sick, horrid dread at his heart, that he intended to marry her. She slipped down off the big chintz chair then with a little laugh that melted away the terror inside of him, and laying her hands delicately on either side of his face she said gently:

“Didn’t you know, oh, didn’t you know from the very beginning, it had to be?”

COLLIER sat in a deep chair by the window, looking out into the blue dusk of the garden, while the music floated over him in warm, rippling waves. A large honey-colored moon was sending oblique rays of pale light into the room, picking out the high lights, the white keys of the piano, a cluster of white roses, Lisa’s hands as she drew the bow across the strings.

She was playing a love song, the trailing, sentimental notes floating out into the garden and dying away beneath the trees. From that she drifted into a slumber song, too soft, too low even to penetrate to the nursery upstairs, but he knew her thoughts were in that spacious, white room as she played those tender notes.

A curiously wondering expression crossed his face as he listened. At length the music died completely away. Lisa laid the violin back in its case and closed the lid

with a snap. Then she moved toward him, across the wide spaces of moonlit floor, and slipped down at his feet', her head against his knees.

The wondering expression on his face did not die out as he put down a hand to lay it on the smoothness of her hair.

“Why don’t you ever play me some of your big things? —Bach, Debussy, Beethoven, or some of those. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard you play anything like that.”

She was motionless against his knee. After a moment she gave an odd little laugh.

“So you don’t like the music I make for you?”

“I was only wondering why——■”

He could see the line of her profile in the moonlight and it struck him that there was something too wistful, too sorrowful in her face seen in that vague, white light. He was conscious of a dark unrest.

“Lisa,” he said with a sharp note of fear, “you do love me?”

She leaned her head further back so that she could look up at him. Her eyes shone in her small, white face.

“Aren’t you and baby just a part of me? Aren’t you just myself?”

“A part of you, yes. But there is still another part. For no matter how much we love, no one can get inside another person’s soul. Why do you play for me nothing but love songs or slumber songs? Is it—Lisa—is it because you are afraid?”

He could feel the tremor that ran through her body. She seemed to shiver at his question. She evaded it by drawing herself up until her cheek rested against his, her arms around his neck. For the moment he forgot tp question her more.

But if he forgot to inquire further at the moment the question remained in his mind. Thinking it over, in all the time since they had been married, now a full year, he had never heard her play anything except those soft little love songs, slumber songs in the twilight, music which he knew she must despise. And he wondered if, locked up in that violin, there was something of which she was perilously afraid.

When they had married there had been no question in her mind but that this was to be the end of her public career.

“What do you think?” she had asked. “Do you suppose I would like to have you following me around like a poodle on the end of a leash? Do you think I could go away and leave you for weeks at a time, perhaps months? No, it is love that has pushed the music out of my heart and I am content.”

And even at the time he had wondered how long it would last. Even then he had known that her music was -part of herself, but he had blinded his eyes and

refused to listen to the clear, cold reason of his brain. Once he was married to her then everything would fashion itself for the best. She would play for him; he would be sufficient audience. But she never played for him except little tuneful melodies which didn’t amount to anything at all.

He was beginning to know that it was because she was afraid. Oh, didn’t he know—couldn’t he understand, the intoxication of it? Think—think of being able to drive that music through plain, simple souls until they sloughed off their earthly flesh and were as flaming spirits listening to the sounds of the Heavenly Host. And she had the power; she was able to do it. Didn’t he understand her fear, loving him as she did, worshipping her child? He must leave it alone; he must listen to her little songs played in the evening; those little slumber songs drifting out into the blue dusks. He must listen and be content that she should be content to play them. Only—was she content? It was best that he should refrain from thinking. Best for himself—he didn’t know, he honestly told himself, he didn’t know what would be best for her.

HE WAS glad when she told him that a friend of hers, a young pianist whom she had known for a number of years, had arrived in New York to give a series of concerts.

“Conrad is a great musician. He lives for nothing but his art. I shall be so glad to see him again. And you will like him also. Everyone likes Conrad.”

Collier was not so sure that he would like Conrad Valdemar, but he tried to believe that he was pleased that Lisa should have this friend come and see her, to whom she could speak of her music. His own colossal ignorance on the subject always brought little gusts of laughter from Lisa.

“It’s so strange,” she cried. “V, here I have lived music was like the sunlight; no one could live without it; it was a part of everything. Even the man who brought the fresh rolls in the morning would know more than you do, my dearest. My mother, my father, to them music was the voice of God.”

He realized quite sharply, in her excited joy at seeing this old friend, how starved for music and talk about music she must have been.

“You must invite youi friend very often,” he said, now desperately eager in his sudden realization to make up to her for what he had stolen from her. “You will enjoy hearing him play and playing for him.”

She drew her finger slowly back along the carved arm of her chair, appearing to be intent on the intricacies of the carving.

“Yes,” she said, “yes, I shall enjoy hearing him play.

I shall write him a little note and ask him to dine with us to-morrow night.

CONRAD VALDEMAR was a slight man about thirty, with smooth black hair that was peculiarly glistening, and a small dark mustache decorating a face that was painfully thin. But it was the face of an artist, and Collier found him prepossessing both in appearance and manner, while his little deferential air to Lisa struck him as being faintly amusing. But it also made him realize rather keenly the way in which she was regarded by other musicians.

Valdemar had motored out from the city rather early, and while Collier was dressing he could see Lisa from the window of his dressing room showing her friend the garden. Collier stood tying his tie at the window, watching her leading her friend down towards the rose garden, then around to the grape arbor, from there across the lawn to the terrace from where there was such a splendid view of the river, with the ships passing up and down. He heard their voices coming towards the house and in a few moments heard them ascending the stairs. They were on their way to the nursery. A grim little smile tightened Collier’s mouth. Lisa was showing her friend all her possessions. She was holding them out to him, crying, crying, “Look—see what I have in exchange for what I have lost!”

Collier turned from the window and his eyes narrowed as he stared into the mirror to see if his tie was straight. He was imagining the expression on the face of that young man.

“A rose garden—a baby—a husband. And she had sold her genius for these.”

Yes, that was what that young man would be thinking. Well, just as long as he didn’t make it too clear to Lisa that that was his ihought, Collier said to himself, thrusting his arms angrily into the sleeves of his dinner jacket. But Lisa had an uncanny way of reading what was going on in people’s minds. She would know—oh, he knew that she knew already, and that was why she had taken Conrad Valdemar at last to the nursery. It was her supreme effort to blot out those thoughts from that young man’s mind.

When Collier came downstairs he found Lisa showing Valdemar the most recent book which Collier had published, with a soft little air of pride. She looked up smiling at Collier as he stood in the doorway watching this little scene.

“I was just showing Conrad your new book,” she cried in her sweet, slurring tones. “I’ve shown him everything. He thinks baby the most wonderful infant he ever saw. And baby smiled at him like an angel. Didn’t he, Conrad?”

Collier’s eyes met Valdemar’s across Lisa’s small dark head and they both smiled. But in Valdemar’s smile Collier fancied that he saw something that was very kin to pity, and a hot resentment flamed in him against this young man. Yet, he acknowledged, as he followed them both across the hall to the dining room, that he had no reason for feeling so. It was himself who was attributing thoughts to Valdemar. There was nothing whatever in his guest’s manner which he could in any way resent.

Collier was silent through dinner, but Lisa didn t appear to notice it. She had so much to say to A al demar; he had so much to say to her. And it was all beyond Collier’s grasp. He couldn’t attempt to join in the conversation. It struck him that he and Lisa were forever talking about books when they were together, his work, his ideals, his ambitions. He had absorbed her genius for his own uses and she had given it to him gladly, generously. With both hands she had given it to him, and he had taken, without thinking that she was constantly denying herself her own form of expression, transforming her genius into a critical penetration to help him in his work. , ,

How tremendously selfish he had been. Why coulan t he have made an effort to learn something about music when it was so near to her heart? V hy didn t he make her speak about it; why hadn't he urged her to play? Was he also afraid?

HE WONDERED, glaring at Valdemar, as the dinner slowly progressed, whether this man was in love with Lisa. She seemed to him somehow different to-night. That velvety softness, that inexpressible sweetness was not so apparent. She appeared to be burning with a fever that brought unusual color to her Continued on page 73

Continued, from page 15

cheeks, an unnatural shine to her eyes. Even her voice did not sound familiar. It was quicker, more eager, more vital than ordinarily. She was like some little stranger seated there, he thought, with a sudden dreadful loneliness sinking into him. This Lisa didn’t belong to him, and he watched her as he might have watched someone whom he had met for the first time.

Half way through dinner she turned to him with a quick, apologetic impulse.

“This is very dull for you, Bruce. But you don’t mind, do you? There is so much I want to hear about from Conrad. We have so much to say to one another.”

Collier tried not to wince; tried to smile as he assured them both that he found what they were saying intensely interesting. There was an expression on Valdemar’s face which did not add anything to his peace of mind. That young man appeared to be saying over and over: “What have you done—oh, what have you done? Marrying her, burying her genius. A rose garden—a baby—a husband.”

Collier’s hands clenched beneath the table and his eyes narrowed as he stared into the candle flames. He wasn’t going to give her up. She was his.

He was thankful when that meal was over. He went with them into the drawing room, then after he had drunk his coffee he wandered off, leaving them absorbed in one another.

When he came back into the room Valdemar was asking Lisa to play for Juin. She was standing beside the piano, Tsmall and slight and delicate looking in a little black gauze frock that made her appear even younger than ordinarily. She was shaking her head, protesting that she couldn’t play this evening.

“No, no. You play us something instead.”

“But it is you I want to hear,” Valdemar insisted. “Surely you are not going to refuse?”

She opened the case of her violin very slowly and lifted to her chin. Collier sat down unnoticed at the far end of the room to listen. Now she would play something different, he thought; there would be no love songs or slumber songs to-night.

She picked up the bow and drew it across the strings. Collier sat up straighter in surprise. That was the first note of the little slumber song she played for him so often, the first low, sweet, sentimental note.

And somehow he knew a sense of deep satisfaction. He was glad that she was playing the same music she had played for him. He closed his eyes and rested his head against the back of the chair, while the soft music sprayed over him like faint, faint perfume.

“My God—”

Collier sat forward with a jerk at the sudden exclamation from Valdemar. The music stopped with a twang of discordant notes.

“Stop playing that sentimental nonsense,” Valdemar exclaimed, the foreign intonation of his voice now very marked and distinct. “I asked you to play for me—not for your baby.”

Collier started to his feet and then stood hesitating. A quick intuition told him to remain where he was and say nothing. But he sat rigid as he watched Valdemar forcing the violin Lisa had laid down back into her hands. She was protesting, unwilling, desperately unwilling.

This time Valdemar seated himself at thepiano. He was going to accompany her. Collier felt nervous and uneasy. Lisa’s face was so white; he had a feeling that her hands were trembling.

A few solemn chords sounded through the long room. Lisa stood slightly back from the piano in the shadow. Collier saw her draw the bow across the strings; heard the notes of the violin mingle like silver strands with the deep pedal notes of the piano.

This time a crash of thundering notes from the piano. The violin gave a thin screech. Valdemar sprang to his feet and snatched the violin out of Lisa’s hands. Collier was on his feet in an instant, anger like hot threads knotting around his brain.

“What the devil do you mean?”

They both turned at the sound of his

voice and stared at him with white, startled faces. Lisa came towards him with a quick little running step and laid her hand on his arm. Tears were falling unheeded down her white cheeks. Collier saw how her eyelids quivered.

“Don’t be angry with Conrad, my dearest. It is simply that I can’t, play any more. I am out 'of practice. And it is sacrilege to Conrad for anyone to murder the music as I was doing. Don’t be angry, dearest,” she pleaded.

Collier lifted his eyes from Lisa’s white face with the running tears to look at Valdemar, who was biting his lip savagely and staring down at the floor. At least then, he had the grace to be ashamed.

“I am sorry,” Valdemar said, meeting Collier’s eyes. “I am deeply and terribly sorry. I have been unpardonable. There are no words with which to excuse myself.”

Lisa looked towards him, at the despondent note in his voice.

“Don’t talk like that, Conrad. I know what you are feeling. Don’t you think I, too, understand? You were so proud of my music—and now—and now—”

“And now,” he interrupted her as though already he had forgotten his words of apology, “it is all finished. You will never play any more, or if you play it will be little tinkling tunes. My heavens, when I think of the artist you were!”

Collier released his arm from Lisa’s detaining grasp and stepped forward. The tears had stopped falling, but she was trembling as though every word struck her like a blow.

“Don’t you think we’ve had enough for to-night?” Collier remarked, his fury making his tone brittle as ice. “I think Lisa is very tired. If you will be kind enough to excuse her—”

“Most certainly. I shall say good night. And I must offer again a thousand apologies. I allowed the tragedy of it to commit me to a great rudeness.”

He bent over Lisa’s hand and bowed stiffly to Collier. Lisa turned away and put her violin back into the case. Collier heard the tiny snap of the catch as he followed Valdemar into the hall.

LISA had gorre out into the garden when Collier came back into the room. He stood for à moment at one of the long open windows looking out at the moon-white paths swept with floating shadow, the tall poplars like spires against the sky, wondering if he would go in search of her. A searching scent of syringa drifted in to him and he could see how the bushes were starry-white with blossom. The night was too sweet, too quiet, too peaceful and he felt it somehow ominous of disaster. What was in Lisa’s mind, out there surrounded by all that silvery sheen and sweetness? He was afraid to think. He imagined that she wanted to be alone and he turned back into the room, put out some of the lights and went heavily upstairs to his room.

Once there he took up a book instead of going to bed and sat down by the window to read. But he didn’t even trouble to open it. He couldn’t forget Lisa’s face with the slow tears falling down her cheeks; the quivering eyelids; that heart-rending quietness of grief. She was burying her genius because she was afraid of it; and it was like burying half of herself.

He wouldn’t let her go; he couldn’t let her go. Valdemar might look and say what he liked, but he would never be able to persuade Lisa to leave him and the baby. Lisa would never go; she would never leave them. He was not afraid of that. But he knew that she was suffering out there in the vague moonlight night. She was facing her problem and making up her mind, and he knew what her decision would be. She would stay with him; she would stay with her baby; she would never leave them for all the music in the world. And she seemed to feel as though she couldn’t have both them and the music. Why, he couldn’t quite understand. It seemed to him clearly possible. His art didn’t draw him from Lisa; it didn’t raise any problem. But she seemed to be afraid of her music, as though it were a dangerous drug that would swamp everything else. He couldn’t understand it.

A silver thread of sound floated in through the window, pale, clear and transparent as moonlight made audible. Lisa, playing her violin in the garden. He sat forward, motionless, listening.

LIKE a still, small voice, clear and J unshaken, telling of lime from its dim beginnings; of mountains rising from mist white vapor; of the clash of seas as they came together; of stars and moons swimming into their places, while the slow, slow movement of earth began. . . .

And it told of the leaves in their primal budding; of wings on the air and of sheep on the hills; and sighing, sighing, faint on the twilight, it told of the first spoken word of love. . . .

Sweet-breathing nights with a child in the cradle; frail white prayer drifting up like smoke; swords of fury and spears of conflict; scarlet passion abroad in the night. . . .

And the voice grew pale with a melting sorrow; tender and gentle the voice became, as it told of a Cross with a figure upon it, high on the crest of a little hill. . . .

Tears and a sepulchre burst open; stronger and stronger and more bright; sacrifice and renunciation; whiter and whiter burns the light . . .

Higher and higher, golden more golden; brighter than stars or moons or suns; shivering brightness the eye cannot cling to; infinite, infinite light. . . .

THE music broke on a high, sustained note and Collier sat very still. The silence that followed seemed to be too intense to endure. And then he heard again the faint whispering rustle of the trees; the low sound of water dripping from a fountain; the chirp of a cricket in the grass.

He listened to that low, chirping sound that was bringing him back to a world of reality, and he knew that he would let her go. He would even go further and tell her that she must go; that she must no longer bury her genius; the world had need of it.

Lisa’s step sounded on the stairs and he looked up and saw her small slight figure stand framed in the doorway for an instant. Then seeing him sitting there, she came forward into the room. He watched her as she came towards him and he noticed the white, exalted expression on her face. Her eyes shone curiously. He knew what it meant; with a heavy numbness, he understood. She had come to tell him that he could no longer hold her. The music had spoken to her out there in the breathless garden; a voice calling to her through the night.

Sacrifice—renunciation. His hands

fell open at his sides. He would say no word to prevent her from leaving him.

“I’ve been in the garden,” she said, “playing my violin.”

He nodded.

“I heard you. I was listening.”

There was a quietness about her, a sense of surpassing peace. And it was like a reproach flung in his face. This was how she should be always, and he had scarcely, if ever, seen her like this before. It made him know better than anything else could have told him, how fretted, how tormented she had been all this time. But now that she had made up her mind to leave him, she was at ! peace.

“I heard you,” he repeated, keeping his voice steady, although so low. And j he told her of what the voice had said i to him, while she listened, her dark eyes never leaving his face.

When he had finished there was silence j for a moment before she spoke.

I “I was always afraid of the music,” she began, lifting her eyes to look out of the window at that long row of poplar trees like spires against the sky; “afraid that it would become like a fever so that I couldn’t do without it at all; so that it would even carry me away from you and baby; so that nothing else in the world would be of any importance [ except just to play all the time to , thousands of people, to drive my music into their souls and lift them up out of themselves. That was why I was afraid.

1 So I played only the little love songs and slumber songs, for I knew I needn’t fear those quiet little tunes. They wouldn’t carry me very far away. Then to-night —when Conrad told me I had lost the big music so that I could never make it again, I felt as though I had shamefully sinned. I had no right to kill in me the power to create beauty in the world. I took my violin out into the garden to see

if what he had said was true. I wanted to be sure that I had lost it forever. But it wasn’t true—it wasn’t true at all.” “No, it wasn’t true,” Collier said, and his voice was like heavy weights dropping on his heart. “You can play as you have always played. It was only that you were unaccustomed to-night; nervous because I was there. I knew that was all it was. You must take your power to create beauty for yourself and for others out into the world. I’m giving you up, for your music told me that I must give you up. Surely I can make a sacrifice.” “But there is no need,” she cried

swiftly. “I was the foolish one. I had no reason to be afraid of the big music. When I play after this it will only bind me a little closer, hold me a little faster, for the voice that spoke through my violin out there in the garden carried me all the way that it carried you, but it took me just a tiny step further—it showed me that the light you thought was the light of sacrifice was love—and nothing but love.”

He lifted the little fingers he was holding so tight, until they lay along his lips.

“And nothing but love,” he whispered.