The Development of the Rillswood Estate

I

A FEW of us at the Billiards Club one day were sitting in the bay window. No one that day had any particular idea as to what the Government ought to do, or what things were coming to, or indeed about any topic whatever; so we were looking out at the street. Not only had conversation drooped and then died away; but, as often happens when things are dull in the club, they seemed dull in the street too.

I for one would not have watched the street at all if I had had anything else to do; and that I think was the feeling of all of us. It was dull, and dull people passed through it. And then came an open motor, and in it reclined a man with sun-tanned skin, sharp aquiline features, small gray beard and rather foreign expression, in a coat of luxurious fur; with a cigar in the fingers of his right hand and one large diamond shining on one of them. His passage through the street seemed to change its whole aspect: it was dull no longer. I turned to my next neighbor, who chanced to be Jorkens, to make some comment on this rare personality; and I saw as I turned that everyone else seemed a little stirred by him too.

‘He’s gone up a lot in the world,’ said Jorkens.

Was it envy that made him say this? ‘Who?’ I said in order to draw Jorkens.

’That fellow,’ said Jorkens, pointing to the man in the new car. ‘Satyrides, the Greek financier.’

I had heard the name. ‘ Is that who he is?’ I said.

‘Yes,’ said Jorkens. ‘He is not Greek really.’

‘What is he? ’ two or three of us asked.

‘I’ll tell you his story,’ said Jorkens.

And there and then he did; and it only shows us that one can wander the countryside for years, and at the end of all that time find something one knew nothing about; or, as is very often the case, never find it at all.

‘There was a painter called Meddin,’ said Jorkens, ‘who lived in a very large cottage, or perhaps one should call it a farmhouse, a really delightful building covered with honeysuckle and built in the way they used to build in Kent, with large flints and mortar. It had a garden behind it, and beyond that a small orchard, and beyond the orchard a wood. Meddin’s property ended at the further edge of the orchard: the wood belonged to the Rillswood estate. Meddin lived there with his sister.

‘All through the warm weather he used to sit and paint in the garden until there was no light left. I think he preferred the dim gloaming to good light, as he did imaginative pictures and could fancy classical figures between the wood and his orchard more easily when the glare of day was gone. It is not easy to describe in words a picture painted with oils, but an evident love of trees and an interest in old mythology, which was showed by his dim figures often haunting a wood, rather suggested Corot. He was not imitative; but, if he had a master during the last hundred years, Corot would have been the man.

‘Even in actual fact there can have been few places pleasanter than that garden of Meddin’s, and in his pictures it was doubly delightful. And then they developed, as they call it, the Rillswood estate; and one day they began to cut the wood down. In a month it was all gone, and in two months bungalows were going up.

‘At this time Meddin and his sister Lucy both began to notice scratchings in their lawn: buttercups were being scratched up and larger plants, and sometimes they saw a bulb all white in the earth, which had been exposed by these scratchings and then left where it grew, as though whatever had laid it bare had been scared away before eating it. They put it down to a badger. And then the tulips that they had in the orchard began to be scratched up. Meddin and his sister went all round the garden and could find nothing. Sometimes they listened from their windows at night, and both distinctly heard noises. Then they talked it all over, and they decided that the best thing to do would be for Meddin to sit up later than usual in the garden, with a gun. They had a shotgun with which Meddin used to shoot pigeons, until the houses of the Rillswood estate began to grow round them, and the pigeons came no longer.

'"But you must n’t shoot it if it’s a fox,” said Lucy.

'"No, no, that would never do,” said Meddin.

‘All this, I may say, was more than thirty years ago, and the shooting of a fox would have meant the placing of the Meddins for the rest of their lives in a class or caste to which the nearest approach would perhaps be the Indian untouchables.

‘Whatever it was seemed to avoid the house, and the scratchings in the lawn were all on the far side, and there were more of them in the orchard — deep scratchings to uncover small roots, which had apparently been eaten. Meddin had never had any more exciting sport than shooting an occasional pigeon, and when he left the house with his loaded shotgun and crossed the lawn, all hushed except for the birds’ last songs coming from shrubs and hedge, I gather that some of those thrills that come to men who sit up at nightfall for tigers came as near to Meddin as they were ever to come.

‘The mystery with which evening always leaves us, and the uncertainty of sport, helped to bring such feelings to Meddin in his villa-surrounded garden. He crossed the lawn to the orchard in the direction in which the scratchings were thickest, and a new look came to the apple trees, for hitherto he had looked at them as an artist, and beyond them to catch fancies stealing out from the wood, but now he approached them as a hunter.

‘The difference was immense, for the fancies that lurked on the orchard’s edge for the artist were all friendly, while he carried a gun for them now; and whatever haunted the evening seemed hostile to Meddin, as he was hostile to it. As an artist he would almost have wept at that hour to see all the solemnity and mystery that had haunted the wood gone, and all its beauty, and the very earth that the wood had enchanted lying bare and untidy; but as a man with a gun, looking for something that lurked, he felt glad that it had less hiding place than it had a month ago, if only the whole evening, stealing swiftly towards night, were not hiding place enough for anything that might lurk. He went cautiously to a rhododendron just at the edge of the orchard, and got into it and sat down on a small campstool he carried, and was pretty well hidden, but could see the orchard.

‘Darkness came to the desolate land where the wood had been, and Meddin had not hidden in his rhododendron long when he heard the sound of steps that seemed soft and heavy stealing amongst his apple trees. He shoved forward the safety catch of his gun, which his sister had told him, quite rightly, not to do until the very last moment, and peered through his leafy screen. Whatever was coming came from where the wood had been, but it kept so persistently behind apple trees that, though Meddin could hear where it was, he could not catch a glimpse of it. It stopped to scratch up some roots from the earth, still hidden from view: Meddin knew which apple tree was giving it covert, but could not move to see round it without disturbing the whole rhododendron, which must have scared whatever it was away.

‘Then, when the thing had eaten whatever it had scratched up, it came forward again, slipping slowly round the apple tree. Meddin says that he knew what it was the moment he saw it, though I don’t set much store by what men tell you afterwards about such moments as that. Anyway, it was a satyr.’

‘A satyr!’ exclaimed Terbut, who was on the window seat with us.

‘Yes,’ said Jorkens, ‘and a full-grown one. A young satyr, Meddin thought, but quite full-grown; and it was looking straight at Meddin from round the trunk of the apple tree, as he had n’t hidden himself very well.’

‘Do you usually get satyrs in suburban gardens?’ said Terbut.

‘No,’ said Jorkens, ‘that’s just the point of it. They live in woods, But this wood had been cut down; and the satyr had nowhere to go. When it first put its head round the apple tree, Meddin says, its lips were twitching as though it were hungry. Then it saw him, and surprise spread over its face, and it gave a low whistle. Meddin’s first thought, as he put his gun down on the ground, was that he had got a model, such a model as even Corot had probably never had. But there were many more thoughts to come, thoughts that worried Meddin and his sister for weeks, until Lady Rillswood called.’

‘How did she come into it?’ asked Terbut.

‘I’m getting ahead of my story,’ said Jorkens. ‘The first thing was what on earth Meddin was to do with the satyr. It was cold and had no wood to go to; and he could n’t leave it there in his garden, hiding behind apple trees for one of the neighbors to find it, quite naked.

‘The first to speak was Meddin. “Come here,”he said. And the satyr whistled again. “Come here,” repeated Meddin, “and don’t make that noise. Where do you come from?”

'"The wood,” said the satyr.

'"What’s your name?” asked Meddin.

‘And the satyr laughed.

'"Are you hungry?” said Meddin.

‘The satyr nodded quickly.

‘“What do you get to eat?” asked Meddin.

‘“Roots,” said the satyr.

‘“Out of my garden, I suppose,” said Meddin.

‘“Yes,” said the satyr. “They’re good.”

‘It was many years before the B.B.C. spoke to everyone every evening, and the satyr’s accent was wild and beastly. But Meddin understood him.

‘“Where do you sleep?” he asked.

‘“I hide,” said the satyr.

'"So I thought,” said Meddin.

‘And looking round he saw that there were few hiding places left, now that the wood was gone, and it could not be many hours before someone would see the satyr. What was to be done? The question perplexed Meddin for a reason that I find it rather hard to make clear. Briefly, then, at the dawn of this century there was a certain system of civilization in England, remnants of which still survive; and it had its definite rules. For instance, if a newcomer in any neighborhood called first on an old-comer, the act was classed with burglaries: nobody ever did call thus on an older resident, but, if anyone had, that is how it would have been looked on. That was one of the rules. The rules were not written out, because everyone knew them. And another of the rules, which everyone knew instinctively, but which was never even mentioned, let alone written, because no one ever contemplated a breach of it, was that you did not keep a satyr in your garden.

‘“Well, hide now,” said Meddin. “You’d better get into this rhododendron bush, while I get you some clothes.”

'"Don’t wear clothes,” said the satyr.

‘“Then you don’t eat food,” said Meddin.

‘“Roots?” said the satyr.

'"Yes, plenty of roots,” said Meddin. For he had a heap of potatoes in a shed, and several tulip bulbs,

‘So the satyr took a dive into the rhododendron, and Meddin went to get him some clothes.

II

‘“Lucy,” lie said when he got back to the house and found his sister waiting for news, “you know those things Corot used to put into his landscapes?”

‘“Satyrs?” she said.

‘“Yes,” replied Meddin. “I wonder if he ever saw one.”

‘“No,” said Lucy, “they’re all nonsense.”

‘“Well, there’s one in the garden now,” said her brother.

'"In the garden now?” said Lucy.

‘“Yes,” said Meddin, “in the rhododendron. And it’s only a matter of time before one of the neighbors will see it.”

‘Lucy saw at once that her brother really meant it, so she saved time on exclamations of wonder, and got her mind instantly to the thing that really mattered, which was to protect the respectability of their garden. If a neighbor should see that satyr, or even anything half so odd, she knew that their house would not be a place at which anybody would call. And if no one called on you — well, you would not be much better than this thing, whatever it was, in the garden. They must hide the satyr; that was clear to both of them; or the satyr would drag them down.

‘“No clothes, of course,” said Meddin.

‘“No,” said Lucy.

‘“We’ve got that old suit that Thomas had.”

‘For they had had on odd man to do the work of the house, but had sent him away for economy. Such fluctuations depended upon the sale of pictures. And now they had only a cook, and a charwoman occasionally.

‘They got the old suit out, and some hyacinth bulbs that had been intended for pots in a window, and were the nearest roots to hand: Meddin knew they were edible, because pheasants had come to his garden in the days of the wood and had always gone for those bulbs. And with the suit of clothes and a handful of bulbs he went back to the rhododendron. The boots of his former employee had walked away with that odd man, so Meddin had to bring an old pair of his own. He hoped that the rule would apply to the satyr that seemed to apply to tramps, which was that any pair of old boots always fitted. And so it fortunately did. But he had the greatest difficulty with the suit of clothes; for not only had the satyr never put on any clothes before, but the breeches were tight for him. Well, he got them on eventually, and back they came to the house and Meddin took the satyr straight up to his room and said, “Now shave off that beard.”

‘But he might just as well have told a goat to shave, as of course he soon realized; and then he shaved off the satyr’s small pointed beard himself and carefully clipped the tufts from the tops of his ears, while the satyr munched the bulbs.

‘“I expect you’d have got them already if I’d planted them out in the garden,” said Meddin as he pointed at the last of his hyacinth bulbs, which was already sprouting.

‘“Yes,” said the satyr. “They’re good.”

‘Then they came downstairs to the parlor, the satyr hobbling uncomfortably, for of course no boots could have really fitted him; boots were for him a concealment, not a fit. He wanted to take them off, but curtly received from Meddin the words which he heard so often at this period that at a later date he took them for his motto: “It can’t be done.”

‘“What do you think of him now?” said Meddin to Lucy. And to the satyr, “This is my sister.”

‘Lucy held out her hand to the satyr, and he licked it. That was only one of a thousand things that they taught him not to do later. They brought him into the dining room there and then, and taught him to hand them dishes while they had supper; and from that very hour they both of them concentrated on hiding away all traces by which the neighbors might guess that they kept a satyr.

‘Their work was difficult, and though they got an odd man for no wages, who seemed delighted to work for them and who could be fed on much cheaper roots than the bulbs of tulips and hyacinths, it would have been a relief to get rid of him. But whenever the question of sending him back arose, as at first it often did, there came the answer at once, “But the wood is gone.” So they kept their secret and lived in perpetual fear, either because they were too kindhearted to get rid of the satyr, or because they could n’t think of a way to do it.

‘One day when Lucy was not in the room Meddin said to the satyr: “Were there any nymphs in the wood?”

‘“Oh, yes,” said the satyr.

‘“What happened to them?” asked Meddin.

‘“They ran,” said the satyr and began to cry, so that Meddin could get no more information about them.

‘It had doglike gratitude and was perpetually willing, so that they were even able to teach it to make tea for them, though it was always afraid of fire. As for appearance, which counted so much in those days, — as to some extent it does still, — its clumsiness in boots, and the tight breeches, were drawbacks, but on the other hand its face was distinctly handsome, and its eyes were alert and so were most of its movements. With the beard gone and the ears clipped there was only the light-brown skin to hint that this was a creature of the woods, and it was barely a hint.

III

‘I gather there was tension and strain on the two Meddins for some time; and then one anxious day the Vicar’s wife called. They saw her at the door ringins the bell.

‘“It is Mrs. Speldridge,” said Lucy.

'"What shall we do?” said Meddin.

‘“Make it answer the door,” said Lucy. “It’s got to start somewhere. And look here, we must stop calling it ‘it.’”

‘So the satyr opened the door and did it quite well, asking, as they had taught it to ask, “Who shall I say?” in its forest accent. And then it brought in tea, carrying everything in with the grace which goes with strength.

'"Our man is always basking in the sun, Mrs. Speldridge,” said Meddin.

‘“Whenever we let him off for a moment,” said Lucy, “he always goes out and basks.”

'"I have n’t seen him in church,” said Mrs. Speldridge.

‘"Of course he must go,” said Meddin.

'"Yes, of course,” said Lucy.

'"I was wondering,” said Mrs. Speldridge, and she launched out into a parochial matter, and the talk was for a while of bazaars and of Lady Rillswood, who ran them, and the satyr came in and out two or three times, doing just as it had been told; and everything went well. And when it showed Mrs. Speldridge out, always turning towards her, as one should to a lady, in spite of the tight breeches she saw no sign of a tail.

‘And so the Meddins were left over the remnants of tea in triumph. It was perhaps more wonderful that there had been no suspicion in their own kitchen; but they had not expected there would be, and they were right. They knew Mrs. Smew’s attitude to any man in the kitchen: with every odd man they had had, it was always the same.

‘“What do you think of him?” Lucy had asked her straight out, the day after the satyr came.

‘“Looks like the devil, and probably is,” said Mrs. Smew and went on with her work.

‘It was just the same attitude she had taken with Thomas, when he had worn those breeches; and Lucy was satisfied. That she was satisfied did not mean that the fear had entirely lifted. I think I mentioned that at the beginning of this century you could not possibly keep a satyr in your garden. They were keeping one in the house; and had he not been so docile, so grateful, and so obedient, but had gone about in the village, as other odd men did, discovery would have come immediately. There is a great deal to be said for convention; and I am not at all sure that it would not save the world from the disasters that seem to be coming. There was only one convention in those days really — the convention that you did the thing that was done, and that nothing else was possible. But the convention grew old and wore out, or the world grew too strong for it.

‘Of course there were exceptions, and here was one of them, two people on whom the Vicar’s wife called once a year hiding a common satyr in the house. Never a day passed but that the Meddins talked it all over; and they never found a way of getting rid of their satyr, and they never felt quite safe.'

‘I don’t know that people objected to satyrs so much at the end of the Victorian era,’ said Terbut, who was quite as old as Jorkens. ‘You see satyrs in every kind of ornament, and in hundreds of pictures of that period. You mentioned Corot yourself.'

‘Yes,’ said Jorkens. ‘But satyrs at a distance; satyrs far away among willows, as Corot painted them; satyrs high up on walls, or in poems or fanciful pictures; satyrs as fabulous things. But here was one in the house, opening the door for you, handing round plates. That is quite a different thing. There are many romantic things that cannot be tolerated for a moment in a parlor; certainly not in a parlor to which a Vicar’s wife would ever come again if they were, or any of her husband’s parishioners. And you know there was a great deal to be said for their point of view.

‘Well, here they were, Meddin and his sister, with their problem, and they would have done well to concentrate all their attention on it, for to hide that satyr was not an easy problem. And for a while they did concentrate all their attention upon it; and then one day the artist broke out in Meddin and he insisted on painting the satyr. It was a risky business, whatever way you looked at it.

‘First of all there was the danger of being found out while at it, for of course he stripped the satyr, and he painted it out in his orchard. And then there was the evidence that the picture provided against the Meddin household; for anybody could see that the picture was done from life, and quite close, and that it was no imaginary thing such as a fanciful painter might put into one of his landscapes.

‘Lucy implored him not to do it, but Meddin was adamant: he had seen the light one day on the satyr’s skin, and had formed the idea that he must paint him at all costs. And paint him he did. He got him hidden by a trunk in the orchard, the great bole of an old tree, and only went out with the satyr to paint late in the evening. The little dark beard, of course, had to go in from memory, but the dim light on the satyr’s skin and on the mossy trunk beside him made a picture that would have been hung in any exhibition, had Meddin dared to show it. He noticed in those evenings that birds on their way home had no fear of the satyr, and would go as close to him as they would to a horse, and stay there undisturbed, till they saw Meddin.

‘To avoid tiring the satyr by keeping it standing too long, Meddin used to allow it — or him, as they now called it — to grub up bulbs for a bit, so long as he kept himself hidden. Lucy all that time was full of alarm and implored her brother never to paint the satyr again, and when the picture was finished he gave the promise that she had found it impossible to cajole him to give her before.

‘The brother and sister discussed the question of food for the satyr.

‘“I’d like to extend his range of diet a bit,” said Meddin. “We owe him a bit more than tulip bulbs for all the work he is doing for us.”

‘For he worked in the garden for them as well as in the house, and cut up wood for the fire and carried in buckets of water.

‘“It’s not our tulip bulbs that I grudge him,” said Lucy. “It’s our respectability. It’s everything. Who would ever call on either of us again if they knew that we kept a satyr?”

‘“Oh, that’s all right,” said Meddin. “He is n’t a satyr any longer.”

‘“Is n’t a satyr?” said Lucy.

‘“Not in those trousers,” said Meddin. “And not unless Mrs. Speldridge says he is.”

‘“Someone will see him one of these days,” she said, “slinking about in the orchard, and they’ll see what he is, and say that we keep a satyr.”

'"No, no, they won’t,” said Meddin reassuringly. But he felt the fear too.

IV

‘Noticing some resemblance in the satyr’s habits to those of the badger, Meddin decided to try him with honey, and this, provided that it was offered him in the comb, the satyr ate with delight.

'"He must have a name, of course,” said Meddin.

‘“He has got Thomas’s clothes,” said Lucy; “he can have his name, too.”

‘“I’ll tell him,” said Meddin.

‘So the satyr became Thomas. He worked all day; he waited at table, cleaned up after, washed Meddin’s brushes in turpentine and then in soap and water, did everything that used to be done by the charwoman, looked after the garden; in fact, did the work of two men and two women, and all for no wages. Yet Meddin had to work, too. For instance, he could not trust the thing with a razor, and dare not let its hair grow; so he shaved the satyr every morning himself. And all the while Meddin and Lucy were constantly inventing devices that should prevent the neighbors from finding out the secret their house hid.

‘And it’s all very well to be critical of those people’s conventions, but I doubt if many of you would care to call at a house in which they kept a perfectly wild satyr; for, however much they had dressed him and shaved him, you don’t alter the character of any woodland thing by keeping it for a few days in a house. More than once during those days Lucy had said: “I only wish we could take him back to a wood.”

‘And Meddin had replied: “There are n’t any left.”

‘“We could find one further off,’ insisted Lucy.

'"Oh, we can’t get rid of Thomas,” Meddin said.

‘“I suppose not,” said Lucy, and sighed. And the clouds of anxiety that hope had lifted for a few seconds came down upon her again. And Meddin was under the same cloud, too. They did not often travel beyond the village of Rillswood, and had nowhere to go if they did. If Rillswood refused to call on them, they could be exiled as well in their garden as in the remote lands to which Romans or Greeks sent their exiles. And they knew well enough that a house that kept a satyr was not a house on which Rillswood people would call. And so things were, for some days, uncertain and full of anxieties. Those warm spring evenings, and the birds singing happily, gave no hint of the fears that hid in the hearts of the Meddins.

‘And then one day the thunderbolt seemed to be over their heads. A note for Lucy came by hand after breakfast. It asked if Lady Rillswood would find them in if she came to tea that afternoon. Lady Rillswood was the widow of the man who had bought the Rillswood estate, which she was now developing. She was good-looking and energetic; indeed she had ample energies for all the activities that the village of Rillswood needed, and all these she largely directed. She did not admit to being forty, nor did she look it. Rumor spoke often of her remarriage, but, with a curious deficiency in anything so well informed as rumor, it had never yet named a new husband.

‘She loomed as a thunderbolt threatening to ruin the Meddins because not only had Lady Rillswood traveled widely, but she had actually all round her in her house all kinds of antique marbles; and Lucy knew well enough, and so did Meddin, that, however simple Mrs. Speldridge might be, Lady Rillswood would know a satyr the moment she saw one. And if Lady Rillswood gave up calling on them that would be the exile I spoke of. I do not mean that it would have mattered if she had not called on them for ten years, but if she had any reason for not doing so that reason would get out, and no one else in Rillswood would go near them.

‘ Well, they drilled the satyr the whole morning, and after they had had lunch they felt more easy about him. So willing, alert, and active was he, and even intelligent in a woodland sort of way, that but for the tight breeches, and the very alien profile and the tanned skin, he would have seemed the perfect servant; and, after all, the profile was a very fine one and the sun-tanned skin was handsome, if only it did not remind people of a satyr. This is how Meddin summed it all up to Lucy as teatime drew near: “She’s got to notice him first, then she’s got to see what he is, and then she’s got to prove it.”

‘But comfort that was not real was rejected by Lucy. “She’ll only have to say it,” she said. “No one will ask Lady Rillswood to prove it.”

‘This was true, for it was not only that she owned all Rillswood, but she actively worked all its committees and leagues, so much that neither of the Meddins knew for what purpose she was coming to see them; nor did they ever find out for certain.

‘“She’ll not notice Thomas,” said Meddin again.

‘And then Lady Rillswood arrived. And the first thing they saw was that her eyes were fixed on the satyr, as it showed her into the parlor. Then it had to bring in the tea; but the moment that Lucy heard the step of the satyr she turned to Lady Rillswood and said, “We think that my brother does such clever pictures. But we are afraid that they might not interest you. But we should be so glad if you cared to look at them.”

‘Lady Rillswood did not run all Rillswood by not being interested in things that her neighbors had to show. She got up at once and was away with Meddin before the satyr returned to the room. Suddenly a dark thought came to Lucy: could Alfred (that was her brother) be trusted to keep the new picture hid? She rose, and hurried after them. Lady Rillswood was charmed with all the pictures she saw; and then she turned to one with its face to the wall, saying, “And may I see that one?”

‘“Oh, that one’s unfinished, Lady Rillswood,” said Lucy.

‘And Lady Rillswood turned away, seeing by Lucy’s attitude, and hearing by the tone of her voice before she had finished her sentence, that she did not want that picture to be looked at. She was walking out of the studio. And then Meddin blurted out: “Oh, that one. I really think you might like it. The light of a late evening on brown skin. And an apple tree, too, an old one with lichen on it. I think you might like it.”

'"I think,” said Lucy, but she found no more to say, and felt that she stood upon the edge of her world, and that the edge was crumbling. The words checked Meddin, but his hand had already gone to the canvas, and he saw no way of telling Lady Rillswood that he did not mean to show it to her after all.

‘“The light, you see,” he said, “on . . .”

‘“Yes, charming,” said Lady Rillswood.

‘Then they came back to the parlor. Meddin watched his guest at the tea table, and her eyes seemed full of thought. He could not make out whether she knew or not. But to Lucy one thing was certain, and that was that if Lady Rillswood saw the satyr again, after seeing that picture, any doubts that she might yet have would be gone forever. And she could not think of any means of keeping Thomas out of the way in their little house. And so she sat there helpless. Meddin, from whom I had a full account of all this, has not the slightest remembrance of what they talked of all teatime, but he remembers very vividly that all the time he was wondering when the satyr would next appear. And then Lady Rillswood said, “If I might ask for my carriage.”

‘And there was nothing to do but to ring the bell. And the satyr came hopping in. Lady Rillswood took one glance at him. Worse than that, it turned its back on her; or at any rate allowed her to see behind it, the tight breeches and the trace of its tail. Meddin saw that, and Lucy saw it, and both knew Lady Rillswood knew everything.

‘Lady Rillswood said good-bye to them both with all her usual charm. Then they sat there looking grayly into the future, barely speaking a word to each other.

‘I think it’s good for people to look at ruin sometimes, and then to turn away from the dark chasm to find all the world more radiant, as Alfred and Lucy did.’

‘What happened?’ I asked Jorkens, for he was sitting quite silent.

‘She married it almost at once,’ said Jorkens.

‘Who? What?’ said Terbut.

‘Lady Rillswood married the satyr,’ said Jorkens. ‘I believe she was extraordinarily happy with him, till she died three or four years ago. And, as for him, you saw it go by just now.’