“I did not bring them,” she said. “They have come of themselves. See, I have brought you money!…Will you not speak to them?”

She offered him some gold pieces, and he took them, saying:

“May I have this money? I shall need it. I cannot speak to them, for I am not yet ascended to the Father. And I must leave you now.”

“Ah! Where will you go?” she cried.

He looked at her, and saw she was clutching for the man in him who had died and was dead, the man of his youth and his mission, of his chastity and his fear, of his little life, his giving without taking.

“I must go to my Father!” he said.

“And you will leave us? There is your mother!” she cried, turning round with the old anguish, which yet was sweet to her.

“But now I must ascend to my Father,” he said, and he drew back into the bushes, and so turned quickly, and went away, saying to himself:

“Now I belong to no one and have no connection, and mission or gospel is gone from me. Lo! I cannot make even my own life, and what have I to save?…I can learn to be alone.”

So he went back to the peasants’ house, to the yard where the young cock was tied by the leg with a string. And he wanted no one, for it was best to be alone; for the presence of people made him lonely. The sun and the subtle salve of spring healed his wounds, even the gaping wound of disillusion through his bowels was closing up. And his need of men and women, his fever to have them and to be saved by them, this too was healing in him. Whatever came of touch between himself and the race of men, henceforth, should come without trespass or compulsion. For he said to himself:

“I tried to compel them to live, so they compelled me to, die. It is always so, with compulsion. The recoil kills the advance. Now is my time to be alone.”