IN THE GARDEN 369
the laurels and the fountain beds. The fountain was playing now and was encircled by beds of brilliant autumn flowers. He crossed the lawn and turned into the Long Walk by the ivied walls. He did not walk quickly, but slowly, and his eyes were on the path. He felt as if he were being drawn back to the place he had so long forsaken, and he did not know why. As he drew near to it his step became still more slow. He knew where the door was even though the ivy hung thick over it — but he did not know exactly where it lay — that buried key.
So he stopped and stood still, looking about him, and almost the moment after he had paused he started and listened— asking himself if he were walking in a dream.
The ivy hung thick over the door, the key was buried under the shrubs, no human being had passed that portal for ten lonely years — and yet inside the garden there were sounds. They were the sounds of running scuffling feet seeming to chase round and round under the trees, they were strange sounds of lowered suppressed voices — exclamations and smothered joyous cries. It seemed actually like the laughter of young things, the uncontrollable laughter of children who were trying not to be heard but who in a moment or so — as their excitement mounted — would burst