Then suddenly the muscles in Frank's neck became stiff and alert, and he half-raised his head, whispering,
'The Pan-pipes, the Pan-pipes. Close, oh, so close.'
Very slowly, as if a sudden movement might interrupt the melody, he raised himself and leaned on the elbow
of his bent arm. His eyes opened wider, the lower lids drooped as if he focused his eyes on something very far
away, and the smile on his face broadened and quivered like sunlight on still water, till the exultance of its
happiness was scarcely human. So he remained motionless and rapt for some minutes, then the look of
listening died from his face, and he bowed his head satisfied.
'Ah, that was good,' he said. 'How is it possible you did not hear? Oh, you poor fellow! Did you really hear
A week of this outdoor and stimulating life did wonders in restoring to Darcy the vigor and health which his
weeks of fever had filched from him, and as his normal activity and higher pressure of vitality returned, he
seemed to himself to fall even more under the spell which the miracle of Frank's youth cast over him. Twenty
times a day he found himself saying to himself suddenly at the end of some ten minutes' silent resistance to
the absurdity of Frank's idea: 'But it isn't possible; it can't be possible,' and from the fact of his having to
assure himself so frequently of this, he knew that he was struggling and arguing with a conclusion which
already had taken root in his mind. For in any case a visible living miracle confronted him, since it was
equally impossible that this youth, this boy, trembling on the verge of manhood, was thirty-five. Yet such was
July was ushered in by a couple of days of blustering and fretful rain, and Darcy, unwilling to risk a chill, kept
to the house. But to Frank this weeping change of weather seemed to have no bearing on the behavior of man,
and he spent his days exactly as he did under the suns of June, lying in his hammock, stretched on the
dripping grass, or making huge rambling excursions into the forest, the birds hopping from tree to tree after
him, to return in the evening, drenched and soaked, but with the same unquenchable flame of joy burning
'Catch cold?' he would ask, 'I've forgotten how to do it, I think. I suppose it makes one's body more sensible
always to sleep out-of-doors. People who live indoors always remind me of something peeled and skinless.'
'Do you mean to say you slept out-of-doors last night in that deluge?' asked Darcy. 'And where, may I ask?'
Frank thought a moment.
'I slept in the hammock till nearly dawn,' he said. 'For I remember the light blinked in the east when I awoke.
Then I went--where did I go?--oh, yes, to the meadow where the Pan-pipes sounded so close a week ago. You
were with me, do you remember? But I always have a rug if it is wet.'
And he went whistling upstairs.
Somehow that little touch, his obvious effort to recall where he had slept, brought strangely home to Darcy the
wonderful romance of which he was the still half-incredulous beholder. Sleep till close on dawn in a
hammock, then the tramp--or probably scamper--underneath the windy and weeping heavens to the remote
and lonely meadow by the weir! The picture of other such nights rose before him; Frank sleeping perhaps by
the bathing-place under the filtered twilight of the stars, or the white blaze of moon-shine, a stir and
awakening at some dead hour, perhaps a space of silent wide-eyed thought, and then a wandering through the
hushed woods to some other dormitory, alone with his happiness, alone with the joy and the life that suffused
and enveloped him, without other thought or desire or aim except the hourly and never-ceasing communion
with the joy of nature.
They were in the middle of dinner that night, talking on indifferent subjects, when Darcy suddenly broke off
in the middle of a sentence.
'I've got it,' he said. 'At last I've got it.'
'Congratulate you,' said Frank. 'But what?'