Sid pursed his lips and shook his head, his gaze riveted upon the door panels in round-eyed incredulity. To him Kenny was an incomprehensible source of turbulence.
“The spark!” said Sid. “Wonder what it’s been?”
Then sharing the club-feeling of guardianship where Kenny was concerned, the good-natured little painter embarked upon a tour of inspection, locked the studio windows and trotted upstairs, still amazed, to tell Jan all about it.
Thus Kenny departed from the Holbein Club, forgetting Fahr almost at once. He had recalled the tale of the Irish piper who added a phrase to some fairy music he heard below him in a hill; and the fairies, bursting forth in delight, had struck the hump from his back in reward.
Kenny himself had the same feeling of relief that the piper must have had thereafter. He too had lost his hump of worry.
GOD’S GREEN WORLD OF SPRING
At a country inn the suit case became a knapsack. Kenny went forth into a world of old houses, apple blossoms and winding roads, likening himself to Peredur who had gone in search of the Holy Grail. The Grail in this case was the holy boon of his son’s forgiveness.
He went with the break of day at a swinging stride, his penitential inspiration in the full flower of its freshness. If misgiving claimed him at all, it was merely a matter of shoes. They were the kind, built for walking, likely to be in a state of unromantic preservation at his journey’s end. Kenny found in them a source of discontent and speculation.
For the passion of life which to Brian’s fancy haunted the highway, Kenny had delightful substitute, fairies quaffing nectar from flower-cups of dew or riding bridle paths of cloud on bits of straw. In everything he chose to find an augury, from the night of birds to the way of the wind, the curl of smoke or the color of a cloud. Thirsty he longed for the drinking horn of Bran Galed or better still of Finn, for Finn’s horn held whatever you wanted. And for a pattern in moments of diversion, there was always the fairy Conconaugh, who made love to every pretty shepherdess and milkmaid he met. Many a farmer’s daughter smiled and blushed at the gallant sweep of Kenny’s cap.
So he tramped, peering delightedly under bushes for the green suits and red caps of the Clan Shee, and every cleft of rock became the portal to a fairy dwelling. At sunset he discovered a fairy battle in the clouds and when the moon rose, silhouettes, fairy-like and frail, scudded mystically across the face of it. Old Gaffer Moon, full-faced and silver!
Brian’s world of spring had been the world of men and women; Kenny’s world held Puck and Mab and Una. He called her Oonagh. If once he remembered with longing that Oonagh’s jovial fairy husband, King Fionvarra, went to his revels on the back of a night-black steed with nostrils aflame, he dismissed it as disloyal. Brian too had been tired, though he called it “blissfully weary.” That depended something on the viewpoint.