A quarter of an hour later he appeared again at the bottom of the lawn, dressed as before, his wet hair already
drying into its crisp short curls again. There he paused a moment, looking back at the stream with the smile
with which men look on the face of a friend, then turned towards the house. Simultaneously his servant came
to the door leading on to the terrace, followed by a man who appeared to be some half-way through the fourth
decade of his years. Frank and he saw each other across the bushes and garden-beds, and each quickening his
step, they met suddenly face to face round an angle of the garden walk, in the fragrance of syringa.
'My dear Darcy,' cried Frank, 'I am charmed to see you.'
But the other stared at him in amazement.
'Frank!' he exclaimed.
'Yes, that is my name,' he said laughing, 'what is the matter?'
Darcy took his hand.
'What have you done to yourself?' he asked. 'You are a boy again.'
'Ah, I have a lot to tell you,' said Frank. 'Lots that you will hardly believe, but I shall convince you----'
He broke off suddenly, and held up his hand.
'Hush, there is my nightingale,' he said.
The smile of recognition and welcome with which he had greeted his friend faded from his face, and a look of
rapt wonder took its place, as of a lover listening to the voice of his beloved. His mouth parted slightly,
showing the white line of teeth, and his eyes looked out and out till they seemed to Darcy to be focused o
things beyond the vision of man. Then something perhaps startled the bird, for the song ceased.
'Yes, lots to tell you,' he said. 'Really I am delighted to see you. But you look rather white and pulled down;
no wonder after that fever. And there is to be no nonsense about this visit. It is June now, you stop here till
you are fit to begin work again. Two months at least.'
'Ah, I can't trespass quite to that extent.'
Frank took his arm and walked him down the grass.
'Trespass? Who talks of trespass? I shall tell you quite openly when I am tired of you, but you know when we
had the studio together, we used not to bore each other. However, it is ill talking of going away on the
moment of your arrival. Just a stroll to the river, and then it will be dinner-time.'
Darcy took out his cigarette case, and offered it to the other.
'No, not for me. Dear me, I suppose I used to smoke once. How very odd!'
'Given it up?'
'I don't know. I suppose I must have. Anyhow I don't do it now. I would as soon think of eating meat.'
'Another victim on the smoking altar of vegetarianism?'
'Victim?' asked Frank. 'Do I strike you as such?'
He paused on the margin of the stream and whistled softly. Next moment a moor-hen made its splashing flight
across the river, and ran up the bank. Frank took it very gently in his hands and stroked its head, as the
creature lay against his shirt.
'And is the house among the reeds still secure?' he half-crooned to it. 'And is the missus quite well, and are
the neighbors flourishing? There, dear, home with you,' and he flung it into the air.
'That bird's very tame,' said Darcy, slightly bewildered.
'It is rather,' said Frank, following its flight.