In the train going down to Tidborough the man who had accosted him permitted himself to be more communicative. A policeman, observing lights burning in the house at midday on Sunday, had knocked, and getting no answer had gone in. He had found the young woman dead on her bed, the baby dead beside her. A tumbler was on a small table and a bottle of oxalic acid, “salts of lemon, as they call it,” said the man.
Sabre stared out of the window. “Effie has killed herself. Effie has killed herself and her baby.” No, he could not fasten upon it. “Effie has killed herself.” That was what this man was telling him. It circled and spun away from him as from the rushing train the fields circled and spun before his vision.
He was able to attend to things and to do things. At Tidborough he took a cab and drove home, and dismissing it at the gate was able to give normal attention to the requirements of the morrow and instruct the man to come out for him at half-past eleven; the inquest was at twelve.
He was able to notice things. For years turning the handle and entering this house had been like entering an empty habitation. It struck cold now. It was like entering a tomb. He went into the morning room. No one was there. He went into the kitchen. No one was there. He stood still and tried to think. Of course no one was here. Effie had killed herself. He climbed to his room, still awkward on stairs with his leg and stick, and went in and stood before his books and stared at them. He was still staring when it occurred to him that it had grown dusk since he first entered and stared. Effie had killed herself.... He went out and along the passage to her room and entered and stared upon the bed. Effie had been found dead. This was where they had found her—dead. No, it was gone; he could not get hold of it. He turned and stared about the room. Things seemed to have been taken out of the room. The man had said something about a glass and a bottle. But there was no glass or bottle here. They had taken things out of the room. And they had taken Effie out of the room—picked up Effie and carried her out like a—an orgasm of terrible emotion surged enormously within him; a bursting thing was in his throat—No, it was gone. What phenomenon had suddenly possessed him? What was the matter? Effie had killed herself. No, he could not get hold of it. He turned away and began to wander from room to room. In some he lit lights because you naturally lit lights when it was dark. All night he wandered from room to room, rarely sitting down. All night his mind groped with outstretched hands for that which all night eluded it.
In the morning, in the mortuary adjoining the coroner’s court, his mind suddenly and with shock most terrible made contact with the calamity it had pursued.
In the mortuary....