"Have we come far enough?" Martin said at last.
Thyme shook her head. A long, steep hill beyond a little sleeping village had brought them to a standstill. Across the shadowy fields a pale sheet of water gleamed out in moonlight. Thyme turned down towards it.
"I'm hot," she said; "I want to bathe my face. Stay here. Don't come with me."
She left her bicycle, and, passing through a gate, vanished among the trees.
Martin stayed leaning against the gate. The village clock struck one. The distant call of a hunting owl, "Qu-wheek, qu-wheek!" sounded through the grave stillness of this last night of May. The moon at her curve's summit floated at peace on the blue surface of the sky, a great closed water-lily. And Martin saw through the trees scimitar-shaped reeds clustering black along the pool's shore. All about him the may-flowers were alight. It was such a night as makes dreams real and turns reality to dreams.
'All moonlit nonsense!' thought the young man, for the night had disturbed his heart.
But Thyme did not come back. He called to her, and in the death-like silence following his shouts he could hear his own heart beat. He passed in through the gate. She was nowhere to be seen. Why was she playing him this trick?
He turned up from the water among the trees, where the incense of the may-flowers hung heavy in the air.