Apparently the two had found each other's society somewhat absorbing, for Adrienne had laughingly declared that she didn't quite know whether Jerry were really staying at Red Gables or at the Rectory. "Pobs and Joan sent all sorts of nice messages for you," said Diana, smiling a little. "They're both coming up to town for my recital, you know." "Are they?" eagerly.
Diana was silent a moment. Then she said suddenly: "Pobs, what am I to do?" Instantly Stair became grave again. "My dear, do you love him?" Diana nodded, her eyes replying. "Then nothing else matters a straw.
But" with one of his rare smiles that flashed out like sunshine after rain "you haven't reached the end of the chapter yet." Diana shook her head. "I think we have, Pobs. I, for one, shall never reopen the pages. My musical work is going to fill my life in future." Stair's eyes twinkled with a quiet humour. "Sponge cake is filling, my dear, very," he responded.
"I can't sing any more," she said, her voice uneven. "No." He added nothing to the laconic negative, but his eyes held hers remorselessly. Then Pobs' cheerful tones fell on their ears and the taut moment passed. "Di, you amazing child!" he exclaimed delightfully. "Where did you find a voice like that? I realise now that we've been entertaining genius unawares all this time.
"Good morning, dear people," she exclaimed gaily. "Am I late? It looks like it from the devastated appearance of the bacon dish. Pobs, you've eaten all the breakfast!" And, she dropped, a light kiss on the top of the Rector's head. "Ugh! Your hair's all wet with sea-water. Why don't you dry yourself when you take a bath, Pobs dear?
He lost his good-conduct badge for christening the Commissioner's wife "Pobs"; but nothing that the Colonel could do made the Station forego the nickname, and Mrs. Collen remained "Pobs" till the end of her stay. So Brandis was christened "Coppy," and rose, therefore, in the estimation of the regiment.
He nearly frightens me to death when he gets into one of his royal Italian rages though he's always particularly sweet afterwards! Pobs, I wonder who my man in the train was?" she added inconsequently. The Rector looked at her narrowly.
Presently she heard the distant click of a gate, and very soon the Rector and Joan appeared, Stair with the dreaming, far-away expression in his eyes of one who has been communing with the saints. Diana went to meet them and slipped her arm confidingly through his. "Come back to earth, Pobs, dear," she coaxed gaily. "You look like Moses might have done when he descended from the Mount."
For a moment she hesitated, while Stair, releasing his hold of her, dropped into a chair and busied himself filling and lighting his pipe. "Well?" he queried at last, smiling whimsically. "Won't you give me an old friend's right to ask impertinent questions?" Impulsively she yielded. "You needn't, Pobs. I'll tell you all about it." When she had finished, a long silence ensued.
"My dear," he said, "it seems to me that if you love him you needs must trust him. 'Perfect love casteth out fear." Diana shook her head. "Mightn't you reverse that, Pobs, and say that he would trust me if he loves me?" "No, not necessarily." Alan sucked at his pipe. "He knows what his secret is, and whether it is right or wrong for you to share it. You haven't that knowledge.