“I took charge of him. He wasn’t capable of thinking of anything for himself. I packed his bag and paid his bill and took him round to our hotel and it wasn’t far off then to the train my wife and I had fixed to get back on. I told my wife what had happened and she played the brick. You see, the chap was like as if he was dazed. Like as if he was walking in a trance. Just did what he was told and said nothing. So we played it up on that, my missus and I; we just sort of took him along without consulting him or seeming to take any notice of him. It was too late to do anything that night when we got up to town. He made a bit of a fuss, lost his temper and swore I was trying to hinder him; but my wife managed him a treat; by Jove, she was marvellous with him, and we got him round to our flat and put him up for the night. I pushed him off to bed early, but I heard him walking up and down his room hours after and talking to himself—talking in tones of horror—’Me! Me! Adulterer!’
“It was rather dreadful, hearing the poor chap. You see, what was the matter with him was, being the frightfully clean, intensely refined sort of chap he is, appalling horror at being thought, by his wife who knew him so well, capable of what was so repulsive to his mind. He loathed the very sound of the word that was used against him. Obscene, he kept on calling it. He was like a man fallen in a mire and plucking at the filthy stuff all over him and reeking of it and not able to eat or sleep or think or do anything but go mad with it. That was how it got him. Like that.
“Next morning—that’s this morning, you understand—he was a little more normal, able to realise things a bit, I mean: thanked my wife for putting him up and hoped he hadn’t been horribly rude or anything last night. More normal, you see: still in a panic fever to be off and state at the Registrar’s that he was going to defend the action; but normal enough for me to see it was all right for him to go straight on home immediately after and tell the girl what she had to do and all that. I told him, by the way, that it would pretty well have to come out now, ultimately, who the child’s father was: the girl would practically have to give that up in the end to clear him. You know, I told him that in the cab going along down. He ground his teeth over it. It was horrible to hear him. He said he’d kill the chap if he could ever discover him; ground his teeth and said he’d kill him, now—after this.
“Well, he got through his business about twelve—just a formality, you know, declaring his intention to defend. Then a thing happened. Can’t think now what it meant. We were waiting for a cab near the Law Courts. I had his bag. He was going straight on to the station. A cab was just pulling in when a man came up, an ordinary enough looking cove, tall chap, and touched Sabre and said, ‘Mr. Sabre?’ Sabre said, ‘Yes’ and the chap said very civilly, ‘Might I speak to you a minute, sir?’