The Malefactor HTML version

II.18. A Dream Of Paradise
It seemed to Wingrave that the days which followed formed a sort of hiatus in his life--an
interlude during which some other man in his place, and in his image, played the game of
life to a long-forgotten tune. He moved through the hours as a man in a maze,
unrecognizable to himself, half unconscious, half heedless of the fact that the garments of
his carefully cultivated antagonism to the world and to his fellows had slipped very easily
from his unresisting shoulders. The glory of a perfect English midsummer lay like a
golden spell upon the land. The moors were purple with heather, touched here and there
with the fire of the flaming gorse, the wind blew always from the west, the gardens were
ablaze with slowly bursting rhododendrons. Every gleam of coloring, every breath of
perfume, seemed to carry him unresistingly back to the days of his boyhood. He fished
once more in the trout streams; he threw away his stick, and tramped or rode with Juliet
across the moors. At night time she sang or played with the windows open, Wingrave
himself out of sight under the cedar trees, whose perfume filled with aromatic sweetness
the still night air. Piles of letters came every day, which he left unopened upon his study
table. Telegrams followed, which he threw into the wastepaper basket. Juliet watched the
accumulating heap with amazement.
"Whatever do people write to you so much for?" she asked one morning, watching the
stream of letters flow out of the post bag.
Wingrave was silent for a moment. Her question brought a sudden and sharp sting of
remembrance. Juliet knew him only as Sir Wingrave Seton. She knew nothing of Mr.
Wingrave, millionaire.
"Advertisements, a good many of them," he said. "I must send for Aynesworth some day
to go through them all."
"What fun!" she exclaimed. "Do send for him! He thinks that I am staying with Miss
Pengarth, and I haven't written once since I got here!"
To Wingrave, it seemed that a chill had somehow stolen into the hot summer morning.
His feet were very nearly upon the earth again.
"I forgot," he said, "that Aynesworth was--a friend of yours. He came and saw you often
in London?"
She smiled reflectively.
"He has been very, very kind," she answered. "He was always that, from the first time I
saw you both. Do you remember? It was down in the lower gardens."