Waymark was grateful for the help Mr. Woodstock had given him. Indeed, the two soon began to get on very well together. In a great measure, of course, this was due to the change in Waymark’s philosophy; whereas his early idealism had been revolted by what he then deemed Mr. Woodstock’s crass materialism and vulgarity, the tolerance which had come with widened experience now made him regard these characteristics with far less certainty of condemnation. He was often merely amused at what had formerly enraged and disgusted him. At the same time, there were changes in Abraham himself, no doubt—at all events in his manner to the young man. He, on his side, was also far more tolerant than in the days when he had growled at Osmond for a conceited young puppy.
One Sunday morning in early July, Waymark was sitting alone in his room, when he noticed that a cab stopped before the house. A minute after, there was a knock at his door, an d, to his great surprise, Mr. Woodstock entered, bearing a huge volume in his arms. Abraham deposited it on a chair, wiped his forehead, and looked round the room.
“You smoke poor tobacco,” was his first remark, as he sniffed the air.
“Good tobacco happens to be expensive,” was the reply. “Will you sit down?”
“Yes, I will.” The chair creaked under him. “And so here you hang out, eh? Only one room?”
“As you see.”
“Devilish unhealthy, I should think.”
The grunt meant nothing in particular. Waymark was eyeing the mighty volume on the chair, and had recognised it Some fortnight previously, he had come upon Abraham, in the latter’s study, turning over a collection of Hogarth’s plates, and greatly amusing himself with the realism which so distinctly appealed to his taste in art. The book had been pledged in the shop, and by lapse of time was become Abraham’s property. It was the first time that Waymark had had an opportunity of examining Hogarth; the pictures harmonised with his mood; they gave him a fresh impulse in the direction his literary projects were taking. He spent a couple of hours in turning the leaves, and Mr. Woodstock had observed his enjoyment. What meant the arrival of the volume here in Beaufort Street?
Abraham lit a cigar, still looking about the room.
“You live alone?” he asked, in a matter-of-fact way.
“Ha! Didn’t know but you might have found it lonely; I used to, at your age.”
Then, after a short silence—
“By-the-by, it’s your birthday.”
“How do you know?”
“Well, I shouldn’t have done, but for an old letter I turned up by chance the other day. How old are you?”
“H’m. I am sixty-nine. You’ll be a wiser man when you get to my age. —Well, if you can find room anywhere for that book there, perhaps you’d like to keep it!”