thereby his passion was renewed.
So in the fullness of time the complicated devices of Bindon ripened, and he could go to Mwres and tell him that the young people were near despair.
“It’s time for you,” he said, “to let your parental affections have play. She’s been in blue canvas some months, and they’ve been cooped together in one of those Labour dens, and the little girl is dead. She knows now what his manhood is worth to her, by way of protection, poor girl. She’ll see things now in a clearer light. You go to her—I don’t want to appear in this affair yet—and point out to her how necessary it is that she should get a divorce from him… .”
“She’s obstinate,” said Mwres doubtfully.
“Spirit!” said Bindon. “She’s a wonderful girl—a wonderful girl!”
“Of course she will. But leave it open to her. Leave it open to her. And some day—in that stuffy den, in that irksome, toilsome life they can’t help it—they’ll have a quarrel. And then—”
Mwres meditated over the matter, and did as he was told.
Then Bindon, as he had arranged with his spiritual adviser, went into retreat. The retreat of the Huysmanite sect was a beautiful place, with the sweetest air in London, lit by natural sunlight, and with restful quadrangles of real grass open to the sky, where at the same time the penitent man of pleasure might enjoy all the pleasures of loafing and all the satisfaction of distinguished austerity. And, save for participation in the simple and wholesome dietary of the place and in certain magnificent chants, Bindon spent all his time in meditation upon the theme of Elizabeth, and the extreme purification his soul had undergone since he first saw her, and whether he would be able to get a dispensation to marry her from the experienced and sympathetic Father in spite of the approaching “sin” of her divorce; and then … Bindon would lean against a pillar of the quadrangle and lapse into reveries on the superiority of virtuous love to any other form of indulgence. A curious feeling in his back and chest that was trying to attract his attention, a disposition to be hot or shiver, a general sense of ill-health and cutaneous discomfort he did his best to ignore. All that of course belonged to the old life that he was shaking off.
When he came out of retreat he went at once to Mwres to ask for news of Elizabeth. Mwres was clearly under the impression that he was an exemplary father, profoundly touched about the heart by his child’s unhappiness. “She was pale,” he said, greatly moved; “She was pale. When I asked her to come away and leave him—and be happy—she put her head down upon the table”—Mwres sniffed—”and cried.”
His agitation was so great that he could say no more.