“But—good heavens!” she exclaimed with an uneasy little laugh, “there’s nothing to be ashamed of in it! I’m not laughing at you, Delancy; I am thinking about it with—with a certain re—” She was going to say regret, but she substituted “respect,” and, rather surprised at her own seriousness, she fell silent, her uncertain gaze continually reverting to him.
She had never before noticed how tall and well-built he was, in spite of the awkwardness with which he moved—a great, big powerful machine, continually checked and halted, as though by some fear that his own power might break loose and smash things. That seemed to be the root of his awkwardness—unskilful self-control—a vague consciousness of the latent strength of limb and body and will, which habit alone controlled, and controlled unskilfully.
She had never before known a man resembling this new revelation of Grandcourt. Without considering or understanding why, she began to experience an agreeable sense of restfulness and security in the silence which endured between them. He stood full in the sunlight, very deeply preoccupied with the contents of his fly-book; she leaned back on the sun-scorched railing of the bridge, bathing-suit tucked under one arm, listening to the melody of the rushing stream below. It seemed almost like the intimacy of old friendship, this quiet interval in the sun, with the moving shadows of leaves at their feet and the music of the water in their ears—a silence unbroken save by that, and the pure, sweet call-note of some woodland bird from the thickets beyond.
“What fly are you trying?” she asked, dreamily conscious of the undisturbed accord.
“Wood-ibis—do you think they might come to it?” he asked so naturally that a sudden glow of confidence in him, in the sunlit world around her, warmed her.
“Let me look at your book?”
He brought it. Together they fumbled the brilliantly patterned aluminum leaves, fumbling with tufted silks and feathers, until she untangled a most alluringly constructed fly and drew it out, presenting it to him between forefinger and thumb.
“Shall we try it?”
“Certainly,” he said.
Duane, carving hieroglyphics on the bark of the big beech, raised his head and looked after them.
“That’s a pretty low trick,” he said to himself, as they sauntered away toward the Gray Water. And he scowled in silence and continued his carving.
So many guests were arriving from Iron Hill, Cloudy Mountain, and West Gate Village that the capacity of Roya-Neh was overtaxed. Room had to be made somehow; Geraldine and Naida Mallett doubled up; twin beds were installed for Dysart and Bunny Gray; Rosalie took in Sylvia Quest with a shrug, disdaining any emotion, even curiosity, concerning the motherless girl whose imprudences with Jack Dysart had furnished gossip sufficient to last over from the winter.