"Haven't we had a gorgeous time?" she said, thoughtfully. "I didn't realize that we could enjoy ourselves so much for such a long time. It's been a whole month now, and getting nicer every day. We've been always so pinched that it seems almost wicked to be so careless about spending money, doesn't it, Norn?" "I don't feel that way," said Elinor gratefully.
There they described the shield of Camorak that had gone to and fro across so many battles, and the sharp but dinted edges of his sword; there were the weapons of Gadriol the Leal, and Norn, and Athoric of the Sleety Sword, Heriel the Wild, Yarold, and Thanga of Esk, their arms hung evenly all round the hall, low where a man could reach them; and in the place of honour in the midst, between the arms of Camorak and of Gadriol the Leal, hung the harp of Arleon.
"I don't believe I want to make a goose of myself again. No, I won't try, Norn. You're awfully good to offer to pose, but I'm done with prize designs till I've had more experience," and with a swoop she crumpled the two little stolid figures into an indistinguishable mass, pounding them fiat with her pink palm. "There! That's the last of you!" she said vindictively.
Her eyes swept one wall and then the other, searching for the familiar canvas, but all in vain, until she lifted them to the screen which stood in the center of the room, and where three canvases were hung, Elinor's below the other two. "There it is!" she whispered eagerly, nudging Elinor to make her see. "It's on the screen. Oh, Norn, it must have " "Hush!" said Elinor in an undertone.
They parted, at the end of the sumptuous supper in the transformed ante-chamber, with a thousand plans for the coming season and a strong sense of enrichment in the friendship of these sincere and attractive neighbors. "What do you think of the artists now?" asked Patricia, leaning back in the carriage as they were being whirled homeward. "Are they such serious people as you thought them, Norn?"
"We caught our first view of Bruce Haydon here remember, Norn?" said Patricia, happily consuming her entrée. "Wouldn't it be fun if we'd run across someone else this time?" "I don't think so," said David resolutely. "We haven't such a lot of time to be together that we need anyone else butting in. I'm satisfied as we are." "You must have had a thought wave, Miss Patricia," said Tom Hughes.
"She does so love variety and she has entered into everything already with such a vim." "Perhaps she's been hungering for what she calls fripperies," said Patricia, hopefully. "She's so tremendously alive that she must need some play, and if she's only willing, we'll see that she gets it, won't we, Norn?" "Find out in the morning how she feels about it," said Elinor, switching off the light.
As her eyes grew accustomed to the flicker and motion, she searched for Elinor, and saw her at last, the center of the weird procession, standing quietly beside the chair from which she had risen, holding her head with a sweet and gracious dignity that went straight to Patricia's chilled heart. "Dear old Norn," she thought with a returning glow. "They can't scare her, bless her heart!"
The act is intolerably long; even were every moment crowded with Wagner's most glorious music the strain on our attention would be terrific. But the music is by no means uniformly of Wagner's best; for pages on pages his sheer craftsmanship fairly gallops away with him. The Norn scene is as purely theatrical as anything he wrote; the atmosphere is, so to speak, artificially weird.
Patricia's eyes were too blurred with happy tears to see very clearly, but she made out Elinor's figure bowing over the same purse that Doris Leighton had received ten short days ago, and she whispered to herself joyously, "Dear old Norn, they've more than paid up for all the horridness now, haven't they? And you deserve it all, too."