It surged enormously within him. He got up. He must go out into the streets and see what was happening.
The day wore on. He felt extraordinarily shy and self-conscious about the performance of a matter that had entered his mind with that surging uplift of his feelings. It was four o’clock in the afternoon before he took himself to it and then, leaving its place, he unexpectedly encountered Mabel. She was just going into the station. She had come in, as she had proposed, and she told him what she had said to Jones and what Jones had said to her. “Abominably rude man.”
Then she asked him, “Was that Doctor Anderson’s gate you came out of just now?”
“Whatever had you been to see him about?”
He flushed. He never could invent an excuse when he wanted one. “I’d been asking him to have a look at me.”
“Oh, nothing particular.”
“You couldn’t have been to see him for nothing.”
“Well, practically nothing. You remember when I increased my life insurance some time ago they said my heart was a bit groggy and made a bit of a fuss? Well, I thought I’d just see again so as to get out of paying that higher premium.”
“Oh, that. What nonsense it was. What did he say?”
“Said I had a murmur or some rot. I say, if you’re going back now, don’t wait dinner for me to-night. I’ll get something here. The Evening Times is bringing out a special edition at nine o’clock. I’d like to wait for it.”
She assented, “Yes, bring home the paper.”
He went into the office. The afternoon post had brought letters to his desk. He turned them over without interest, then caught up one,—from Nona.
Marko, this frightful war! I have thanked God on my knees for you that last week you prevented me. If I had done it with this! Tony has rejoined the Guards, he was in the Reserve of Officers. And you see that whatever has been, and is, dear, he’s my man to stand by in this. Marko, it would have been too awful if I couldn’t, and I thank God for you, again and again and again. Nona.
Twyning appeared. “Hullo, old man, heard the latest? I say, you look as if you’re ready to take on the whole world.”
The enormous and imponderable world awfully unbalanced. Upside down. Extraordinarily unreal. Furiously real.
Life, which had been a thing of the clock and of the calendar, became a thing of events in which there was no time,—only events.
Things began one day very shortly after the declaration of war when, passing the barracks on his way home, Sabre was accosted and taken into the Mess by Cottar, a subaltern of the Pinks.
“You must come along in and have a cup of tea,” young Cottar urged. “We’ve got a hell of a jamborino on. At least we shall have to-night. We’re just working up for it. I can’t tell you why. You can guess.”