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My dear RonaldWhat about coming in to see us? All at Hartley well and easyMamma has been in Edinburgh after a cookno joking matterand to see Benjie who was but indifferent, but has recovered. . . . I will write a long letter soon, but my back and eyes ache with these three pages. . . .

"Ah, Trenchard," he said, and went on with his entries.

"What," asked Henry who wished to discover from her something about Christina's earlier life, "kind of a town is Copenhagen? How did you like Denmark?"

He went off to Peter Street.

Campbell laughed. "Perhaps you're right," he said. "But which is better? To be a second-rate artist and free or to be a second-rate artist and bound? Your little stories are very nice, Grace, but they aren't as good as either Tchehov or Maupassant. Monteith's poetry is clever, but it isn't as good as T. E. Brown on one side or Clough on the other, and neither T. E. Brown or Clough were first-rate poets. So can't we, all of us, second-raters as we are, afford to be generous to one another and take everything a little less solemnly? Life's passing, you know. Happiness and generosity are worth having."

Concerning his friendship with Westcott a word must be said. About a year ago at the house of a friend of Philip's he had been introduced to a thick-set saturnine man who had been sitting by himself in a corner and appearing entirely bored with the evening's proceedings. His host had thrown Henry at this unattractive guest's head as though he would say: "I dare not offer up any of my more important guests to this Cerberus of a fellow, but here's a young ass who doesn't matter and I don't care whether his feelings are hurt or no." Henry himself was at this time cultivating a supercilious air in public, partly from shyness and partly because he did not wish to reveal how deeply pleased he was at being invited to parties. He liked at once Westcott's broad shoulders, close-cropped hair and nonchalant attitude. The first ten minutes of their conversation was not a success, and then Henry discovered that Westcott had, in the days of his youth, actually known, spoken to, had tea with the God of his, Henry's, idolatry, Henry Galleon. Westcott was perhaps touched by young Henry's ingenuous delight, his eager questions, his complete forgetfulness of himself and his surroundings at this piece of information. He in his turn launched out and talked of the London of fifteen years ago and of the heroes of that time, a time that the war had made historic, curious, picturesque, a time that was already older than crinolines, almost as romantic as the Regency. Their host left them together for the remainder of the evening, feeling that he had most skilfully killed two dull birds with one stone. They departed together, walked from Hyde Park Corner together and[Pg 38] by the time that they parted were already friends. That friendship had held firm throughout the succeeding year. As a friendship it was good for both of them. Westcott was very lonely and too proud to go out and draw men in. Henry needed just such an influence as Westcott's, the influence of a man who had known life at its hardest and bitterest, who had come through betrayal, disappointed ambition, poverty and loneliness without losing his courage and belief in life, a man whose heart was still warm towards his fellowmen although he kept it guarded now lest he should too easily be again betrayed.

"Not to-morrow, Peter. The day after."

He did not move as the evening passed into night.

"She won't," said Henry. "She'll hold out to the very last."

He rushed into the little kitchen, found the kettle, filled it and put it on the sitting-room fire. The tea-things were still on the table, a plate with cakes, a loaf of bread, the pot of jam. She was sitting up staring at them. She got up and moved across to the table. "Cut me some bread quickly. Never mind about the tea."

He kissed her and left her, and at some moment between then and the morning she left him.