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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 4,784 pages of information about Complete Project Gutenberg John Galsworthy Works.

And Shelton said:  “I’ll think about it.”

Mrs. Shelton had taken up her stand with one foot on the fender, in spite of her sciatica.

“Cheer up!” she cried; her eyes beamed as if intoxicated by her sympathy.

Wonderful woman!  The uncomplicated optimism that carried her through good and ill had not descended to her son.

From pole to pole he had been thrown that day, from the French barber, whose intellect accepted nothing without carping, and whose little fingers worked all day, to save himself from dying out, to his own mother, whose intellect accepted anything presented with sufficient glow, but who, until she died, would never stir a finger.  When Shelton reached his rooms, he wrote to Antonia: 

I can’t wait about in London any longer; I am going down to Bideford to start a walking tour.  I shall work my way to Oxford, and stay there till I may come to Holm Oaks.  I shall send you my address; do write as usual.

He collected all the photographs he had of her—­amateur groups, taken by Mrs. Dennant—­and packed them in the pocket of his shooting-jacket.  There was one where she was standing just below her little brother, who was perched upon a wall.  In her half-closed eyes, round throat, and softly tilted chin, there was something cool and watchful, protecting the ragamuffin up above her head.  This he kept apart to be looked at daily, as a man says his prayers.

PART II

THE COUNTRY

CHAPTER XVI

THE INDIAN CIVILIAN

One morning then, a week later, Shelton found himself at the walls of Princetown Prison.

He had seen this lugubrious stone cage before.  But the magic of his morning walk across the moor, the sight of the pagan tors, the songs of the last cuckoo, had unprepared him for that dreary building.  He left the street, and, entering the fosse, began a circuit, scanning the walls with morbid fascination.

This, then, was the system by which men enforced the will of the majority, and it was suddenly borne in on him that all the ideas and maxims which his Christian countrymen believed themselves to be fulfilling daily were stultified in every cellule of the social honeycomb.  Such teachings as “He that is without sin amongst you” had been pronounced unpractical by peers and judges, bishops, statesmen, merchants, husbands—­in fact, by every truly Christian person in the country.

“Yes,” thought Shelton, as if he had found out something new, “the more Christian the nation, the less it has to do with the Christian spirit.”

Society was a charitable organisation, giving nothing for nothing, little for sixpence; and it was only fear that forced it to give at all!

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