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      "He is not hunting her; yet, should he find her, I have the fear he would do his duty as a soldier, anyhow. No, he was looking, I think, for Ferry's scouts."This savoured a little of business.

      GOD OF THIEVES. GOD OF THIEVES.Where the tireless sea-birds sweep;

      The conference lasted some time. Keeling was but learning now, through this one channel of books, that attitude of mind which through instinct, whetted and primed by education, came naturally to the younger man, and it was just this that made these talks the very essence of the secret garden. Propert, for all that he was but an employee at a few pounds a week,{43} was gardener there; he knew the names of the flowers, and what was more, he had that comprehension and love of them which belongs to the true gardener and not the specimen grower or florist only. It was that which Keeling sought to acquire, and among the prosperous family friends, who were associated with him in the management of civic affairs, or in business relationships, he found no opportunity of coming in contact with a similar mind. But Propert was freeborn in this republic of art and letters, and Keeling was eager to acquire at any cost the sense of native, unconscious citizenship. He felt he belonged there, but he had to win his way back there.... He must have learned the language in some psychically dim epoch of his existence, for exploration among these alleys in his garden had to him the thrill not of discovery, but the more delicate sense of recollection, of revisiting forgotten scenes which were remembered as soon as they disentangled themselves again from the jungle of materialistic interests that absorbed him all the week. Mr Keeling had very likely hardly heard of the theory of reincarnation, and had some modern Pythagoras spoken to him of beans, he would undoubtedly have considered it great nonsense. But he would have confessed to the illusion (the fancy he would have called it) of having known something of all this before when Propert, with his handsome face{44} aglow and his eyes alight, sat and turned over books with him thus, forgetting, as his own absorption increased, to interject his sentences with the respectful sir of their ordinary week-day intercourse. Keeling ceased to be the proprietor and master of the universal stores, he ceased even to be the proprietor of his own books. They and their pictures and their binding and their aroma of the kingdom of intellect and beauty, were common possessions of all who chose to claim them, and belonged to neither of them individually any more than the French language belongs to the teacher who instructs and the pupil who learns.

      If you loved me he began.

      She retreated a step with a fallen face.

      And no one knows who the giver of the new wing is? she asked.

      I stared with surprise. Was this the trivial Harry talking? Fact is, the pair we were talking about had by some psychical magic rarified the atmosphere for all of us until half our notes were above our normal pitch."You say he remained three weeks on the back of that whale," said one of the listeners.




      The morning was almost sultry. As I halted in the clear ripples of a gravelly "branch" to let my horse drink, I heard no great way off the Harpers' train shrieking at cattle on the track, and looking up I noticed just behind me an unfrequented by-road carefully masked with brush, according to a new habit of the "citizens". The next moment my horse threw up his head to listen. Then I heard hoofs and voices, and presently there came trotting through the oak bushes and around the mask of brush two horsemen unusually well mounted, clad and armed. Their very dark gray uniforms were so trim and so nearly blue that my heart came into my throat; but then I noticed they carried neither carbines nor sabres, but repeaters only, a brace to each. They splashed lightly to either side of me, and the three horses drank together.


      AN EXPRESS RUNNER. AN EXPRESS RUNNER.She stirred curiously in his arms, her mind newly alert.