But now I saw that that image in the glass could never have done the things that I had done that day. I could not imagine that stereotyped creature wanting to fight Frank Jervaise, running away from the Hall, taking the side of a chauffeur in an intrigue with his master’s daughter, falling in love with a woman he had not known for twenty-four hours, and, culminating wonder, making extraordinary determinations to renounce the pleasures and comforts of life in order to ... I could not quite define what, but the substitute was something very strenuous and difficult and self-sacrificing.
Nevertheless, some one had done all these things, and if it were not that conventional, self-satisfied impersonation now staring back at me with a look of perplexed inquiry, where was I to find his outward likeness? Had I looked a different man when I was talking to Anne in the Farm parlour or when I had communed with myself in the wood? Or if the real Graham Melhuish were something better and deeper than this fraudulent reflection of him, how could he get out, get through, in some way or other achieve a permanent expression to replace this deceptive mask? Also, which of us was doing the thinking at that moment? Did we take it turn and turn about? Five minutes before the old, familiar Melhuish had undoubtedly been unpacking his bag in his old familiar way, and wondering how he had come to do all the queer things he unquestionably had been doing in the course of this amazing weekend. Now, the new Melhuish was uppermost again, speculating about the validity of his soul—a subject that had certainly never concerned the other fellow, hitherto.
But it was the other fellow who was in the ascendant when I entered the farm sitting-room in answer to the summons of a falsetto bell. I was shy. I felt like an intruder. I was afraid that Farmer Banks would treat me as a distinguished visitor, and that my efforts to attain the happy freedom of an equal might—in the eyes of Anne—appear condescending. The new self I had so lately discovered was everybody’s equal, but, just then, I was out of touch with my new self.
Nor did Farmer Banks’s natural courtesy tend to put me at ease. He and Arthur were alone in the room when I came down and it was Arthur who, with an evident self-consciousness, introduced me.
“Mr. Melhuish, father,” was all he said, and I had no idea how much of the story the old man had, as yet, been told.
He made a kind of stiff bow and held out his hand. “Pleased to meet you, Mr. Melhuish,” he said, and his manner struck a mean between respectfulness and self-assertion. It was the kind of manner that he might have shown to a titled canvasser just before an election.