Thus I drowsed and woke, a dozen times, till in the glimmer of the early light I rose and drew back my curtains. The dawn was struggling up fitfully in the east, among cloudy bars, tipping and edging them with smouldering flashes of light, and there was a lustrous radiance in the air. Then, to my surprise, looking down at the silent garden, pale with dew, I saw the great figure of Father Payne, bare-headed, wrapt in a cloak, pacing solidly and, I thought, happily among the shrubberies, stopping every now and then to watch the fiery light and to breathe the invigorating air—and I felt then that, whatever he might be doing, he at all events was something, in a sense which applied to but few people I knew. He was not hard, unimaginative, fenced in by stupidity and self-righteousness from unhappiness and doubt, as were some of the men accounted successful whom I knew. No, it was something positive, some self-created light, some stirring of hidden force, that emanated from him, such as I had never encountered before.
I can attempt no sort of chronicle of our days, which indeed were quiet and simple enough. I have only preserved in my diary the record of a few scenes and talks and incidents. I will, however, first indicate how our party, as I knew it, was constituted, so that the record may be intelligible.
First of us came Leonard Barthrop, who was, partly by his seniority and partly by his temperament, a sort of second-in-command in the house, much consulted and trusted by Father Payne. He was a man of about thirty-five, grave, humorous, pleasant. If one was in a minor difficulty, too trivial to take to Father Payne, it was natural to consult Barthrop; and he sometimes, too, would say a word of warning to a man, if a storm seemed to be brewing. It must not be denied that men occasionally got on Father Payne’s nerves, quite unconsciously, through tactlessness or stupid mannerisms—and Barthrop was able to smooth the situation out by a word in season. He had a power of doing this without giving offence, from the obvious goodwill which permeated all he did. Barthrop was not very sociable or talkative, and he was occupied, I think, in some sort of historical research—I believe he has since made his name as a judicious and interesting historian; but I knew little of what he was doing, and indeed was hardly intimate with him, though always at ease in his company. He was not a man with strong preferences or prejudices, nor was he in any sense a brilliant or suggestive writer, I think he had merged himself very much in the life of our little society, and kept things together more than I was at first aware.