Lane felt a better spirit resurging. He felt the silence, the beauty, the mystery, the eternal that was there. All that was small and frail was passing from him. There came a regurgitation of physical strength—a change of blood.
The following morning while Lane was laboring over his wood pile, he thought he heard voices in the front yard, and presently Mel came around the walk accompanied by Doctor Wallace and Doctor Bronson.
“Well, Lane, glad to see you,” said Doctor Bronson, in his hearty tones. “Doctor Wallace and I are on our way to the Grange and thought we’d stop off a minute.”
“How are you, Mr. Lane? I see you’re taking work seriously,” put in Doctor Wallace, in his kindly way.
“Oh, I’m coming round all right,” replied Lane.
He stood there with his shirt sleeves rolled up, his face bronzed a little and now warm and moist from the exercise, with something proven about him, with a suggestion of a new force which made him different.
There was an unmistakable kindliness in the regard of both men and a scarcely veiled fear Lane was quick to read. Both men were afraid they would not find him as they had hoped to.
“Mel, you’ve chosen a charming location for a home,” observed Doctor Wallace.
When Mel was showing her old teacher and friend the garden and flowerbeds the practical Doctor Bronson asked Lane: “Did you chop all that wood?”
The doctor pointed to three long piles of wood, composed of short pieces regularly stacked one upon another.
“How long did it take you?”
“I’ve been weeks at it. That’s a long time, but you know, Doctor, I was in pretty poor condition. I had to go slow.”
“Well, you’ve done wonders. I want to tell you that. I hardly knew you. You’re still thin, but you’re gaining. I won’t say now what I think. Be careful of sudden or violent exertion. That’s all. You’ve done more than doctors can do.”
“Mel, come here,” called Lane from the back porch, “who the deuce are those people coming down the hill?”
Mel shaded her eyes from the glare of the bright morning sun. “The lady is Miss Hill, my old schoolteacher. I’d know her as far as I could see her. Look how she carries her left arm. This is Saturday, for she has neither a lunch basket nor a prayer book in that outstretched hand. If you see Miss Hill without either you can be certain it’s Saturday. As to the gentleman—Daren, can it possibly be Colonel Pepper?”
“That’s the Colonel, sure as you’re alive,” declared Lane, with alacrity. “They must be coming here. Where else could they be making for? But Mel, for them to be together! Why, the Colonel’s an old sport, and she—Mel—you know Miss Hill!”
Whereupon Mel acquainted Daren with the circumstances of a romance between Miss Hill and the gallant Colonel.