It was also lilac time in his friends’ garden, and Algy loves lilacs perhaps best of all the flowering shrubs. So he settled himself among the lovely pannicles of flowers and dozed off contentedly in the bright sunshine, drinking in the heady lilac scent. Some lines from T. S. Eliot’s poem Portrait of a Lady drifted through his mind:

          Now that lilacs are in bloom
          She has a bowl of lilacs in her room
          And twists one in her fingers while she talks.
          “Ah, my friend, you do not know, you do not know
          What life is, you who hold it in your hands”;
          (Slowly twisting the lilac stalks)
         “You let it flow from you, you let it flow,
          And youth is cruel, and has no remorse
          And smiles at situations which it cannot see.”
          I smile, of course,
          And go on drinking tea.
          “Yet with these April sunsets, that somehow recall
          My buried life, and Paris in the Spring,
          I feel immeasurably at peace, and find the world
          To be wonderful and youthful, after all.”

[Algy is thinking of the first stanza in part II of Portrait of a Lady by T. S. Eliot.]

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