As they went up the hill, the night seemed dense with the unknown. They kept close together, feeling as if the darkness were alive and full of knowledge, all around them. In silence they walked up the hill. At first the street lamps went their way. Several people passed them. He was more shy than she, and would have let her go had she loosened in the least. But she held firm.
Then they came into the true darkness, between the fields. They did not want to speak, feeling closer together in silence. So they arrived at the Vicarage gate. They stood under the naked horse- chestnut tree.
"I wish you didn't have to go," he said.
She laughed a quick little laugh.
"Come to-morrow," she said, in a low tone, "and ask father."
She felt his hand close on hers.
She gave the same sorrowful little laugh of sympathy. Then she kissed him, sending him home.
At home, the old grief came on in another paroxysm, obliterating Louisa, obliterating even his mother for whom the stress was raging like a burst of fever in a wound. But something was sound in his heart.