thinking—thinking of his wife! Feeling
suddenly morbid, Mr. Bosengate arrested the swing
and stood up. Absurd!—all his well-being
and mood of warm anticipation had deserted him!
‘A d—–d world!’ he thought.
’Such a lot of misery! Why should I have
to sit in judgment on that poor beggar, and condemn
him?’ He moved up on to the terrace and walked
briskly, to rid himself of this disturbance before
going in. ‘That commercial traveller chap,’
he thought, ’the rest of those fellows—they
see nothing!’ And, abruptly turning up the three
stone steps, he entered the conservatory, locked it,
passed into the billiard room, and drank his barley
water. One of the pictures was hanging crooked;
he went up to put it straight. Still life.
Grapes and apples, and—lobsters!
They struck him as odd for the first time. Why
lobsters? The whole picture seemed dead and oily.
He turned off the light, and went upstairs, passed
his wife’s door, into his own room, and undressed.
Clothed in his pyjamas he opened the door between the
rooms. By the light coming from his own he could
see her dark head on the pillow. Was she asleep?
No—not asleep, certainly. The moment
of fruition had come; the crowning of his pride and
pleasure in his home. But he continued to stand
there. He had suddenly no pride, no pleasure,
no desire; nothing but a sort of dull resentment against
everything. He turned back; shut the door, and
slipping between the heavy curtains and his open window,
stood looking out at the night. ‘Full of
misery!’ he thought. ’Full of d—–d
Filing into the jury box next morning, Mr. Bosengate
collided slightly with a short juryman, whose square
figure and square head of stiff yellow-red hair he
had only vaguely noticed the day before. The man
looked angry, and Mr. Bosengate thought: ‘An
ill-bred dog, that!’
He sat down quickly, and, to avoid further recognition
of his fellows, gazed in front of him. His appearance
on Saturdays was always military, by reason of the
route march of his Volunteer Corps in the afternoon.
Gentleman Fox, who belonged to the corps too, was also
looking square; but that commercial traveller on his
other side seemed more louche, and as if surprised
in immorality, than ever; only the proximity of Gentleman
Fox on the other side kept Mr. Bosengate from shrinking.
Then he saw the prisoner being brought in, shadowy
and dark behind the brightness of his buttons, and
he experienced a sort of shock, this figure was so
exactly that which had several times started up in
his mind. Somehow he had expected a fresh sight
of the fellow to dispel and disprove what had been
haunting him, had expected to find him just an outside
phenomenon, not, as it were, a part of his own life.
And he gazed at the carven immobility of the judge’s
face, trying to steady himself, as a drunken man will,
by looking at a light. The regimental doctor,