“Well, all of a sudden she began, ’Oh, what a frightfully interesting face that man’s got!’ That’s the way she talks. ’What a most interesting face. Do look, Percy.’
“I said, ‘Well, so have I got an interesting face. Look at mine.’
“’Oh, but do, Percy. You must. On that seat by himself just opposite. He’s just staring at nothing and thinking and thinking. And his face looks so worn and tired and yet so very kind and such a wistful look as though he was thinking of—’
“I growled, still reading: ’He’s probably thinking what he’s going to have for lunch. Oh, dash it, do stop jogging me. Where is he?’
“And then I looked across. Old Sabre! By Jove, you might have pushed me over with one finger. Old Sabre in a tweed suit and a soft hat, and his game leg stuck out straight, and his old stick, and his hands about a thousand miles deep in his pockets, and looking—yes, my wife said the true thing when she said how he was looking. Any one would have taken a second squint at old Sabre’s face as I saw it then—taken a second squint and wondered what he’d been through and what on earth his mind could be on now. They certainly would.
“I knew. I knew; but I tell you this, I could see he’d been through a tough lot more, and thought a considerable number of fathoms deeper, in the month since I’d seen him last. Yes, by Jove, I could see that without spectacles.
“I went over to him. You could have pushed him off the seat with one finger when he saw me. Except that you wouldn’t have had any fingers worth using as fingers, after he’d squeezed your hands as he squeezed mine. Both of them. And his face like a shout on a sunny morning. Yes, he was pleased. I like to think how jolly pleased the old chap was.
“I took him over to my wife, and my wife climbed all over him, and we chatted round for a bit, and then I worked off my wife on a bunch of people we knew and I got old Sabre on to a secluded bench and started in on him. What on earth was he doing down at Brighton, and how were things?
“He said ’Things...? Things are happening with me, Hapgood. Not to me—with me. Happening pretty fierce and pretty quick. I’m right in the middle of the most extraordinary, the most astounding, the most amazing things. I had to get away from them for a bit. I simply had to. I came down here for a week-end to get away from them and go on wrestling them out when they weren’t right under my eyes. I’m going back to-morrow. Effie was all right—with her baby. She was glad I should go—glad for me, I mean. Poor kid, poor kid. Top of her own misery, Hapgood, she’s miserable to death at what she says she’s let me in for. She’s always crying about it. Crying. She’s torn between knowing my house is the only place where she can have her baby, between that and seeing what her coming into the place has caused. She spends