Such as has been described was now Felix Kennaston's manner of living, which, as touches utilitarian ends, it might be wiser forthwith to dismiss as bred by the sickly fancies of an idle man bemused with unprofitable reading. By day his half of the sigil lay hidden in the library, under a pile of unused bookplates. But nightly this bit of metal was taken with him to bed, in order that, when held so as to reflect candlelight--for this was always necessary--it might induce the desired dream of Ettarre; an d that, so, Horvendile would be freed of Felix Kennaston for eight hours uninterruptedly.

In our social ordering Felix Kennaston stayed worthy of consideration in Lichfield, both as a celebrity of sorts and as the owner of four bank-accounts; and colloquially, as likewise has been recorded, he was by ordinary dismisseed from our patronizing di scussion as having long been "queer," and in all pprobability "a dope fiend." In Lichfield, as elsewhere, a man's difference from his fellows cannot comfortably be conceded except by assuming the difference to be to his discredit.

Meanwhile, the Felix Kennaston who owned two motors and had money in four banks, went with his wife about their round of decorous social duties; and the same Felix Kennaston, with leisured joy in the task, had completed The Tinctured Veil--which, a s you now know, was woven from the dreamstuff Horvendile had fetched out of that fair country--very far from Lichfield--which is bounded by Avalon and Phaecia and Sea-coast Bohemia, and the contiguous forests of Arden and Broceliande, and on the west of c ourse by the Hesperides.

Then, just before The Tinctured Veil was published, an accident happened.

Fate, as always frugal of display, used simple tools. Kennaston, midway in dressing, found he had no more mouthwash. He went into his wife's bathroom, in search of a fresh bottle. Kathleen was in Lichfield for the afternoon, at a card party; and thus it was brought about that Kennaston found, lying in the corner of her bathroom press, and hidden by a bottle of Harrowby's No. 7 Dental Delight, the missing half of the sigil of Scoteia-- the half which Ettarre had retained. There was no doubt about it. He held it in his hand.

"Now, that," said Felix Kennaston, aloud, "is rather curious."

He went into the library, and lifted the little pile of unused bookplates; and presently the two pieces of metal lay united upon his wife's dressing table, between the manicure-set and the pincushion, forming a circle not quite three inches in diameter, j ust such as he had seen once upon the brow of Mother Isis, and again in the Didascalion when Ptolemy of the Fat Paunch was master of Egypt.

"So, Kathleen somehow found the other half. She has had it from the first.... But naturally I never spoke of Felix Kennaston; it was forbidden, and besides, the sigil's crowning grace was that it enabled me to forget his existence. And the girl's name in the printed book is Alison. And Horvendile is such an unimportant character that Kathleen, reading the tale hastily--I thought she simply skimmed it!--did not remember that name either; and so, did not associate the dream names in any way with my boo k, nor with me.... She too, then, does not know--as yet.... And, for all that, Kathleen, the real Kathleen, is Ettarre--'whatever flesh she may wear as a garment!'... Or, rather, Ettarre is to Kathleen as Horvendile--but am I truly that high-hearted a geless being? Eh, I do not know, for we touch mystery everywhere. I only know it is the cream of the jest that day by day, while that lean, busy-eyed stranger, whose hands and lips my own hands and lips meet daily, because this contact has become a part of the day's routine--"

But he was standing before his wife's dressing-table, and the mirror showed him a squat insignificant burgess in shirtsleeves, with grizzled untidied hair, and mild accommodating pale eyes, and an inadequate nose, with huge nostrils, and a spacious naked- looking upper-lip. That was Felix Kennaston, so far as were concerned all other people save Kathleen. He smiled; and in the act he noted that the visual result was to make Felix Kennaston appear particularly inane and sheepish. But he knew now that did not matter. Nor did it greatly matter--his thoughts ran--that it was never permitted any man, not even in his dreams, ever to touch the hands and lips of Ettarre.

So he left there the two pieces of metal, united at last upon his wife's dressing-table, between the manicure-set and the pincushion, where on her return she might find them, and, finding, understand all that which he lacked words to tell.

Chapter Thirty-Seven