CONVERSATIONS IN ARCADY
'His guardians would fain have had it supposed that the castle did not contain any such guest.'
- The Little Duke
The sun came into the room like pale green underwater light. That was because the tree outside was just budding. The light washed its primrose yellow cover, over the big arm-chair and the couch, and the bookcase which was full of advanced reading. There were some early daffodils in a vase which had been bought in Sweden, and the only sounds were a fountain dripping somewhere in the cool out-of-doors and the gentle voice of the earnest young man with the rimless glasses.
"The great thing, you see, is not to worry. You've never had your share of the war for the time being, Mr Digby, and you can lie back with an easy conscience."
The young man was always strong on the subject of conscience. His own, he had explained weeks ago, was quite clear. Even if his views had not inclined to pacifism, his bad eyes would have prevented him from being of any active value – the poor things peered weakly and trustfully through the huge convex lenses like bottle-glass; they pleaded all the time for serious conversation.
"Don't think I'm not enjoying myself here. I am. You know it's a great rest. Only sometimes I try to think – who am I?"
"Well, we know that, Mr Digby. Your identity card..."
"Yes, I know my name's Richard Digby, but who is Richard Digby? What sort of life do you think I led? Do you think I shall ever have the means to repay you all... for this?"
"Now that needn't worry you, Mr Digby. The doctor is repaid all he wants simply by the interest of your case. You're a very valuable specimen under his microscope."
"But he makes life on the slide so very luxurious, doesn't he?"