As for himself, he regarded the bus-driver’s account of the accident as of very little value. For no one so madly in love committed suicide for want of money; nor was Bosinney the sort of fellow to set much store by a financial crisis. And so he too rejected this theory of suicide, the dead man’s face rose too clearly before him. Gone in the heyday of his summer—and to believe thus that an accident had cut Bosinney off in the full sweep of his passion was more than ever pitiful to young Jolyon.
Then came a vision of Soames’ home as it now was, and must be hereafter. The streak of lightning had flashed its clear uncanny gleam on bare bones with grinning spaces between, the disguising flesh was gone....
In the dining-room at Stanhope Gate old Jolyon was sitting alone when his son came in. He looked very wan in his great armchair. And his eyes travelling round the walls with their pictures of still life, and the masterpiece ‘Dutch fishing-boats at Sunset’ seemed as though passing their gaze over his life with its hopes, its gains, its achievements.
“Ah! Jo!” he said, “is that you? I’ve told poor little June. But that’s not all of it. Are you going to Soames’? She’s brought it on herself, I suppose; but somehow I can’t bear to think of her, shut up there—and all alone.” And holding up his thin, veined hand, he clenched it.
After leaving James and old Jolyon in the mortuary of the hospital, Soames hurried aimlessly along the streets.
The tragic event of Bosinney’s death altered the complexion of everything. There was no longer the same feeling that to lose a minute would be fatal, nor would he now risk communicating the fact of his wife’s flight to anyone till the inquest was over.
That morning he had risen early, before the postman came, had taken the first-post letters from the box himself, and, though there had been none from Irene, he had made an opportunity of telling Bilson that her mistress was at the sea; he would probably, he said, be going down himself from Saturday to Monday. This had given him time to breathe, time to leave no stone unturned to find her.
But now, cut off from taking steps by Bosinney’s death—that strange death, to think of which was like putting a hot iron to his heart, like lifting a great weight from it—he did not know how to pass his day; and he wandered here and there through the streets, looking at every face he met, devoured by a hundred anxieties.
And as he wandered, he thought of him who had finished his wandering, his prowling, and would never haunt his house again.
Already in the afternoon he passed posters announcing the identity of the dead man, and bought the papers to see what they said. He would stop their mouths if he could, and he went into the City, and was closeted with Boulter for a long time.