The Arrow of Gold HTML version

Chapter II.3
Mills got up and approached the figure at the window. To my extreme surprise, Mr.
Blunt, after a moment of obviously painful hesitation, hastened out after the man with the
white hair.
In consequence of these movements I was left to myself and I began to be uncomfortably
conscious of it when Dona Rita, near the window, addressed me in a raised voice.
"We have no confidences to exchange, Mr. Mills and I."
I took this for an encouragement to join them. They were both looking at me. Dona Rita
added, "Mr. Mills and I are friends from old times, you know."
Bathed in the softened reflection of the sunshine, which did not fall directly into the
room, standing very straight with her arms down, before Mills, and with a faint smile
directed to me, she looked extremely young, and yet mature. There was even, for a
moment, a slight dimple in her cheek.
"How old, I wonder?" I said, with an answering smile.
"Oh, for ages, for ages," she exclaimed hastily, frowning a little, then she went on
addressing herself to Mills, apparently in continuation of what she was saying before.
. . . "This man's is an extreme case, and yet perhaps it isn't the worst. But that's the sort of
thing. I have no account to render to anybody, but I don't want to be dragged along all the
gutters where that man picks up his living."
She had thrown her head back a little but there was no scorn, no angry flash under the
dark-lashed eyelids. The words did not ring. I was struck for the first time by the even,
mysterious quality of her voice.
"Will you let me suggest," said Mills, with a grave, kindly face, "that being what you are,
you have nothing to fear?"
"And perhaps nothing to lose," she went on without bitterness. "No. It isn't fear. It's a sort
of dread. You must remember that no nun could have had a more protected life. Henry
Allegre had his greatness. When he faced the world he also masked it. He was big enough
for that. He filled the whole field of vision for me."
"You found that enough?" asked Mills.
"Why ask now?" she remonstrated. "The truth - the truth is that I never asked myself.
Enough or not there was no room for anything else. He was the shadow and the light and
the form and the voice. He would have it so. The morning he died they came to call me at