Felix, who, faintly smiling, had watched him up and down, up and down the Turkey carpet, answered:
“Not so. I am by no means a revolutionary person, because with all the good-will in the world I have been unable to see how upheavals from the bottom, or violence of any sort, is going to equalize these lives or do any good. But I detest humbug, and I believe that so long as you and your Mallorings go on blindly dosing yourselves with humbug about duty and superiority, so long will you see things as they are not. And until you see things as they are, purged of all that sickening cant, you will none of you really move to make the conditions of life more and ever more just. For, mark you, Stanley, I, who do not believe in revolution from the bottom, the more believe that it is up to us in honour to revolutionize things from the top!”
“H’m!” said Stanley; “that’s all very well; but the more you give the more they want, till there’s no end to it.”
Felix stared round that room, where indeed one was all body.
“By George,” he said, “I’ve yet to see a beginning. But, anyway, if you give in a grudging spirit, or the spirit of a schoolmaster, what can you expect? If you offer out of real good-will, so it is taken.” And suddenly conscious that he had uttered a constructive phrase, Felix cast down his eyes, and added:
“I am going to my clean, warm bed. Good night, old man!”
When his brother had taken up his candlestick and gone, Stanley, uttering a dubious sound, sat down on the lounge, drank deep out of his tumbler, and once more took up his Review.
The next day Stanley’s car, fraught with Felix and a note from Clara, moved swiftly along the grass-bordered roads toward Joyfields. Lying back on the cushioned seat, the warm air flying at his face, Felix contemplated with delight his favorite countryside. Certainly this garden of England was very lovely, its greenness, trees, and large, pied, lazy cattle; its very emptiness of human beings even was pleasing.
Nearing Joyfields he noted the Mallorings’ park and their long Georgian house, carefully fronting south. There, too, was the pond of what village there was, with the usual ducks on it; and three well-remembered cottages in a row, neat and trim, of the old, thatched sort, but evidently restored. Out of the door of one of them two young people had just emerged, going in the same direction as the car. Felix passed them and turned to look. Yes, it was they! He stopped the car. They were walking, with eyes straight before them, frowning. And Felix thought: ’Nothing of Tod in either of them; regular Celts!’
The girl’s vivid, open face, crisp, brown, untidy hair, cheeks brimful of color, thick lips, eyes that looked up and out as a Skye terrier’s eyes look out of its shagginess—indeed, her whole figure struck Felix as almost frighteningly vital; and she walked as if she despised the ground she covered. The boy was even more arresting. What a strange, pale-dark face, with its black, uncovered hair, its straight black brows; what a proud, swan’s-eyed, thin-lipped, straight-nosed young devil, marching like a very Highlander; though still rather run-up, from sheer youthfulness! They had come abreast of the car by now, and, leaning out, he said: