IN THE GARDEN 373
Archibald Craven thought, as it was poured forth in headlong boy fashion. Mystery and Magic and wild creatures, the weird midnight meeting — the coming of the spring — the passion of insulted pride which had dragged the young Rajah to his feet to defy old Ben Weatherstaff to his face. The odd companionship, the play acting, the great secret so carefully kept. The listener laughed until tears came into his eyes and sometimes tears came into his eyes when he was not laughing. The Athlete, the Lecturer, the Scientific Discoverer was a laughable, lovable, healthy young human thing.
" Now," he said at the end of the story, " it need not be a secret any more. I dare say it will frighten them nearly into fits when they see me — but I am never going to get into the chair again. I shall walk back with you, Father — to the house."
Ben Weatherstaff's duties rarely took him away from the gardens, but on this occasion he made an excuse to carry some vegetables to the kitchen and being invited into the servants' hall by Mrs. Medlock to drink a glass of beer he was on the spot — as he had hoped to be — when the most dramatic event Misselthwaite Manor had seen during the present generation actually took place.