'The radical unsoundness of your idea. It is this: All nature from highest to lowest is full, crammed full of
suffering; every living organism in nature preys on another, yet in your aim to get close to, to be one with
nature, you leave suffering altogether out; you run away from it, you refuse to recognize it. And you are
waiting, you say, for the final revelation.'
Frank's brow clouded slightly.
'Well?' he asked, rather wearily.
'Cannot you guess then when the final revelation will be? In joy you are supreme, I grant you that; I did not
know a man could be so master of it. You have learned perhaps practically all that nature can teach. And if, as
you think, the final revelation is coming to you, it will be the revelation of horror, suffering, death, pain in all
its hideous forms. Suffering does exist: you hate it and fear it.'
Frank held up his hand.
'Stop; let me think,' he said.
There was silence for a long minute.
'That never struck me,' he said at length. 'It is possible that what you suggest is true. Does the sight of Pan
mean that, do you think? Is it that nature, take it altogether, suffers horribly, suffers to a hideous inconceivable
extent? Shall I be shown all the suffering?'
He got up and came round to where Darcy sat.
'If it is so, so be it,' he said. 'Because, my dear fellow, I am near, so splendidly near to the final revelation.
To-day the pipes have sounded almost without pause. I have even heard the rustle in the bushes, I believe, of
Pan's coming. I have seen, yes, I saw to-day, the bushes pushed aside as if by a hand, and piece of a face, not
human, peered through. But I was not frightened, at least I did not run away this time.'
He took a turn up to the window and back again.
'Yes, there is suffering all through,' he said, 'and I have left it all out of my search. Perhaps, as you say, the
revelation will be that. And in that case, it will be good-bye. I have gone on one line. I shall have gone too far
along one road, without having explored the other. But I can't go back now. I wouldn't if I could; not a step
would I retrace! In any case, whatever the revelation is, it will be God. I'm sure of that.'
The rainy weather soon passed, and with the return of the sun Darcy again joined Frank in long rambling
days. It grew extraordinarily hotter, and with the fresh bursting of life, after the rain, Frank's vitality seemed to
blaze higher and higher. Then, as is the habit of the English weather, one evening clouds began to bank
themselves up in the west, the sun went down in a glare of coppery thunder-rack, and the whole earth broiling
under an unspeakable oppression and sultriness paused and panted for the storm. After sunset the remote fires
of lightning began to wink and flicker on the horizon, but when bed-time came the storm seemed to have
moved no nearer, though a very low unceasing noise of thunder was audible. Weary and oppressed by the
stress of the day, Darcy fell at once into a heavy uncomforting sleep.
He woke suddenly into full consciousness, with the din of some appalling explosion of thunder in his ears,
and sat up in bed with racing heart. Then for a moment, as he recovered himself from the panic-land which
lies between sleeping and waking, there was silence, except for the steady hissing of rain on the shrubs outside
his window. But suddenly that silence was shattered and shredded into fragments by a scream from
somewhere close at hand outside in the black garden, a scream of supreme and despairing terror. Again, and
once again it shrilled up, and then a babble of awful words was interjected. A quivering sobbing voice that he
'My God, oh, my God; oh, Christ!'
And then followed a little mocking, bleating laugh. Then was silence again; only the rain hissed on the shrubs.
All this was but the affair of a moment, and without pause either to put on clothes or light a candle, Darcy was
already fumbling at his door-handle. Even as he opened it he met a terror-stricken face outside, that of the
man-servant who carried a light.
'Did you hear?' he asked.
The man's face was bleached to a dull shining whiteness.
'Yes, sir,' he said. 'It was the master's voice.'