Twyning, inarticulate, pushed up his hand and felt for Sabre’s hand and clutched it and squeezed it convulsively.
Sabre said again, “There, there, Twyning. Hard. Hard. Fine death.... Brave boy....” He disengaged his hand and turned and walked very slowly from the room.
He went along the passage, past Mr. Fortune’s door towards that which had been his own, still walking very slowly and with his hand against the wall to steady himself. He felt deathly ill....
He went into his own room, unentered by him for many months, now his own room no more, and dropped heavily into the familiar chair at the familiar desk. He put his arms out along the desk and laid his head upon them. Oh, cumulative touch! He began to be shaken with onsets of emotion, as with sobs. Oh, cumulative touch!
The communicating door opened and Mr. Fortune appeared. He stared at Sabre in astounded indignation. “Sabre! You here! I must say—I must admit—”
Sabre clutched up his dry and terrible sobbing. He turned swiftly to Mr. Fortune and put his hands on the arms of the chair to rise.
A curious look came upon his face. He said, “I say, I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I—I can’t get up.”
Mr. Fortune boomed, “Can’t get up!”
“I say—No. I say, I think something’s happened to me. I can’t get up.”
The door opened. Hapgood came in, and Nona.
Sabre said, “I say, Hapgood—Nona—Nona! I say, Nona, I think something’s happened to me. I can’t get up.”
A change came over his face. He collapsed back in the chair.
She who thus cried ran forward and threw herself on her knees beside him, her hands stretched up to him. Hapgood turned furiously on Mr. Fortune. “Go for a doctor! Go like hell! Sabre! Sabre, old man!”
* * * * *
“Hemorrhage on the brain,” said the doctor. “...Well, if there’s no more effusion of blood. You quite understand me. I say if there isn’t.... Has he been through any trouble, any kind of strain?
“Trouble,” said Hapgood. “Strain. He’s been in hell—right in.”
* * * * *
When he was removed and they had left him, Nona said to Hapgood as they came down the steps of the County Hospital, “There was a thing he was so fond of, Mr. Hapgood:
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
“It comes to me now. There must be a turning now. If he dies ... still, a turning.”
Hapgood across the coffee cups, the liqueur glasses and the cigarettes, wagged a solemn head at that friend of his, newly returned from a long visit to America. He wagged a solemn head:
“She’s got her divorce, that wife of his....