He suffered the agony of a man who realizes that he has wandered unawares in strange places, and retains no recollection of his actions, of his intentions. He went back to that last unclouded moment in the cafe with Maria, Paredes, and the stranger. Where had he gone after he had left them? He had looked at his watch. He had told himself he must catch the twelve-fifteen train. He must have gone from the restaurant, proceeding automatically, and caught the train. That would account for the sensation of motion in a swift vehicle, and perhaps there had been a taxicab to the station. Doubtless in the woods near the Cedars he had decided it was too late to go in, or that it was wiser not to. He had answered to the necessity of sleeping somewhere. But why had he come here? Where, indeed, was he?
At least he could answer that. He drew on his shoes—a pair of patent leather pumps. He fumbled for his handkerchief, thinking he would brush the earth from them. He searched each of his pockets. His handkerchief was gone. No matter. He got to his feet, lurching for a moment dizzily. He glanced with distaste at his rumpled evening clothing. To hide it as far as possible he buttoned his overcoat collar about his neck. On tip-toe he approached the door, and, with the emotions of a thief, opened it quietly. He sighed. The rest of the house was as empty as this room. The hall was thick with dust. The rear door by which he must have entered stood half open. The lock was broken and rusty.
He commenced to understand. There was a deserted farmhouse less than two miles from the Cedars. Since he had always known about it, it wasn’t unusual he should have taken shelter there after deciding not to go in to his grandfather.
He stepped through the doorway to the unkempt yard about whose tumbled fences the woods advanced thickly. He recognized the place. For some time he stood ashamed, yet fair enough to seek the cause of his experience in some mental unhealth deeper than any reaction from last night’s folly.
He glanced at his watch. It was after two o’clock. The mournful neighbourhood, the growing chill in the air, the sullen sky, urged him away. He walked down the road. Of course he couldn’t go to the Cedars in this condition. He would return to his apartment in New York where he could bathe, change his clothes, recover from this feeling of physical ill, and remember, perhaps, something more.
It wasn’t far to the little village on the railroad, and at this hour there were plenty of trains. He hoped no one he knew would see him at the station. He smiled wearily. What difference did that make? He might as well face old Blackburn, himself, as he was. By this time the thing was done. The new will had been made. He was penniless and an outcast. But his furtive manner clung. He didn’t want Katherine to see him like this.
From the entrance of the village it was only a few steps to the station. Several carriages stood at the platform, testimony that a train was nearly due. He prayed that it would be for New York. He didn’t want to wait around. He didn’t want to risk Katherine’s driving in on some errand.