Meeting in the lobby
He met them downstairs in the lobby. He saw them from the stairs, standing together near the door. Patricia was talking animatedly and John, with a smile of tolerance, was listening. He walked more slowly down to join them.
Patricia said: ‘Here he is. We were just commenting on your palatial surroundings, Frank.’
‘You should see my office,’ he said. ‘It has ash-trays and a strip of carpet. Well, John. You’re looking well.’
He put his hand out, and John gripped it with a familiar strength of fingers. He had changed only in the direction of fulfilment of the old promises – of handsomeness, of strength, of assurance and command. For a moment he shared Patricia’s confidence that no artifice of war could beat this sureness down.
John said: ‘So are you. I came back to share the privations of starving England, but you both look reasonably fit on them.’