The sunlight was gone again as I crossed the road into Hyde Park, and the Serpentine lay below me, black and unfriendly and ruffled into petty anger by the shifting breeze. Higher up, on the Row, a couple cantered their horses in the direction of Hyde Park Corner. The man was dressed in what looked like a grey lounge suit, the woman in fawn jodhpurs, a yellow sweater and, it would seem, nothing else. Their animals were a tired-looking pair. I began to walk through the trees behind the bathing enclosure. As I arrowed down, at last, to the asphalt verge of the water, I passed one particularly large tree, and on the other side of it found two park chairs on which Rupert and Howard were seated while Brock grubbed enthusiastically at the tree’s roots. They were looking silently out across the Serpentine. Howard shifted his gaze slightly, catching sight of me almost as soon as I myself was aware of them. He sprang up, exchanging whatever silent boredom he had been practising with Rupert for the usual high spirits that I associated with him.
‘Tenn!’ he said. ‘Sit down. Wait, I’ll get you a chair.’
There was one a few yards away, at the edge of the water. He carried it back to the tree, brushed the seat with his handkerchief, and invited me to accept it. He had pulled his own chair to one side and so I sat down between them.
‘Did you expect to find us here?’ Howard asked. ‘Were you looking for us?’
I said: ‘I wouldn’t say I was looking for you. Helen told me you were here. At least, she said you were taking Brock for a walk.’
‘He got tired,’ Howard explained. I glanced to one side where Brock was methodically taking the bottom of the tree apart, and Howard smiled. ‘He’s enjoying himself, anyway.’