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- Celibates - 57/57 -

slowly, I'll keep watch this side, you keep watch that side, we can't miss him.'

'I'm to drive round the Square till you see a gentleman walking?'

'Yes, and then we'll stop you,' said Father White.

Suddenly Agnes cried 'There is father, there.' Father White poked his umbrella through the window, and Agnes screamed, and she had to scream her loudest, so absorbed was the Major.

'Father White called to see me. I've asked him to take me back to the convent. You'll let me go, father? I shall be happier there than at home.'

The Major did not answer and the priest said:

'If you'll allow me, Major Lahens, I'd like to have a few minutes' conversation with you.'

He got out of the cab and Agnes waited anxiously. She could hear them talking, and she prayed that she might sleep at the convent that night. At last the Major came to the cab door and said:

'If you wish, Agnes, to go back to the convent with Father White you can. I'll work hard and make some money and then you'll come and live with me.'

'Yes, father.... Remember you'll always be in my thoughts... It is good of you to let me go, indeed it is. You must try not to miss me too much and you'll often come and see me.'

'Yes, dear.'

'And, father, dear, you'll remember your promise.'

'Yes, dear... Good-bye.'

She kissed her father on the forehead and burst into tears. The cab jangled on, the priest did not speak and gradually through the girl's grief there grew remembrance of the road leading to the convent. And, though they were still five miles away or more, she saw the gate at the corner of the lane, the porteress too. She saw the quiet sedate nuns hastening down the narrow passages towards their chapel. She saw them playing with their doves like innocent children, she saw them chase the ball down the gravel walks and across the swards. She saw her life from end to end, from the moment when the porteress would open the door to the time when she would be laid in the little cemetery at the end of the garden where the nuns go to rest.


Celibates - 57/57

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