He paused again, and a slight look of fear crossed his eyes.
'There will be a final revelation,' he said, 'a complete and blinding stroke which will throw open to me, once
and for all, the full knowledge, the full realization and comprehension that I am one, just as you are, with life.
In reality there is no 'me,' no 'you,' no 'it.' Everything is part of the one and only thing which is life. I know
that that is so, but the realization of it is not yet mine. But it will be, and on that day, so I take it, I shall see
Pan. It may mean death, the death of my body, that is, but I don't care. It may mean immortal, eternal life
lived here and now and for ever. Then having gained that, ah, my dear Darcy, I shall preach such a gospel of
joy, showing myself as the living proof of the truth, that Puritanism, the dismal religion of sour faces, shall
vanish like a breath of smoke, and be dispersed and disappear in the sunlit air. But first the full knowledge
must be mine.'
Darcy watched his face narrowly.
'You are afraid of that moment,' he said.
Frank smiled at him.
'Quite true; you are quick to have seen that. But when it comes I hope I shall not be afraid.'
For some little time there was silence; then Darcy rose.
'You have bewitched me, you extraordinary boy,' he said. 'You have been telling me a fairy-story, and I find
myself saying, 'Promise me it is true.''
'I promise you that,' said the other.
'And I know I shan't sleep,' added Darcy.
Frank looked at him with a sort of mild wonder as if he scarcely understood.
'Well, what does that matter?' he said.
'I assure you it does. I am wretched unless I sleep.'
'Of course I can make you sleep if I want,' said Frank in a rather bored voice.
'Very good: go to bed. I'll come upstairs in ten minutes.'
Frank busied himself for a little after the other had gone, moving the table back under the awning of the
veranda and quenching the lamp. Then he went with his quick silent tread upstairs and into Darcy's room. The
latter was already in bed, but very wide-eyed and wakeful, and Frank with an amused smile of indulgence, as
for a fretful child, sat down on the edge of the bed.
'Look at me,' he said, and Darcy looked.
'The birds are sleeping in the brake,' said Frank softly, 'and the winds are asleep. The sea sleeps, and the
tides are but the heaving of its breast. The stars swing slow, rocked in the great cradle of the Heavens, and----'
He stopped suddenly, gently blew out Darcy's candle, and left him sleeping.
Morning brought to Darcy a flood of hard commonsense, as clear and crisp as the sunshine that filled his
room. Slowly as he woke he gathered together the broken threads of the memories of the evening which had
ended, so he told himself, in a trick of common hypnotism. That accounted for it all; the whole strange talk he
had had was under a spell of suggestion from the extraordinary vivid boy who had once been a man; all his
own excitement, his acceptance of the incredible had been merely the effect of a stronger, more potent will
imposed on his own. How strong that will was, he guessed from his own instantaneous obedience to Frank's
suggestion of sleep. And armed with impenetrable commonsense he came down to breakfast. Frank had
already begun, and was consuming a large plateful of porridge and milk with the most prosaic and healthy
'Slept well?' he asked.
'Yes, of course. Where did you learn hypnotism?'
'By the side of the river.'
'You talked an amazing quantity of nonsense last night,' remarked Darcy, in a voice prickly with reason.
'Rather. I felt quite giddy. Look, I remembered to order a dreadful daily paper for you. You can read about
money markets or politics or cricket matches.'
Darcy looked at him closely. In the morning light Frank looked even fresher, younger, more vital than he had
done the night before, and the sight of him somehow dinted Darcy's armor of commonsense.
'You are the most extraordinary fellow I ever saw,' he said. 'I want to ask you some more questions.'
'Ask away,' said Frank.