John Menzies Grant, having breakfasted, filled his pipe, lit it, and strolled out bare-headed into the garden. The month was June, that glorious rose-month which gladdened England before war-clouds darkened the summer sky. As the hour was nine o'clock, it is highly probable that many thousands of men were then strolling out into many thousands of gardens in precisely similar conditions; but, given youth, good health, leisure, and a fair amount of money, it is even more probable that few among the smaller number thus roundly favored by fortune looked so perplexed as Grant. Moreover, his actions were eloquent as words. A spacious French window had been cut bodily out of the wall of an old-fashioned room, and was now thrown wide to admit the flower-scented breeze. Between this window and the right-hand angle of the room was a smaller window, square-paned, high above the ground level, and deeply recessed - in fact just the sort of window which one might expect to find in a farm-house built two centuries ago, when light and air were rigorously excluded from interiors.
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