Consciousness came again with noticing that the river had no water in it—someone was speaking too. Want anything? No. What could one want? Too weak to want—only to hear his watch strike....
Holly! She wouldn’t bowl properly. Oh! Pitch them up! Not sneaks!... ‘Back her, Two and Bow!’ He was Two!... Consciousness came once more with a sense of the violet dusk outside, and a rising blood-red crescent moon. His eyes rested on it fascinated; in the long minutes of brain-nothingness it went moving up and up....
“He’s going, doctor!” Not pack boots again? Never? ’Mind your form, Two!’ Don’t cry! Go quietly—over the river—sleep!... Dark? If somebody would—strike—his—watch!...
A sealed letter in the handwriting of Mr. Polteed remained unopened in Soames’ pocket throughout two hours of sustained attention to the affairs of the ‘New Colliery Company,’ which, declining almost from the moment of old Jolyon’s retirement from the Chairmanship, had lately run down so fast that there was now nothing for it but a ‘winding-up.’ He took the letter out to lunch at his City Club, sacred to him for the meals he had eaten there with his father in the early seventies, when James used to like him to come and see for himself the nature of his future life.
Here in a remote corner before a plate of roast mutton and mashed potato, he read:
“In accordance with your suggestion we have duly taken the matter up at the other end with gratifying results. Observation of 47 has enabled us to locate 17 at the Green Hotel, Richmond. The two have been observed to meet daily during the past week in Richmond Park. Nothing absolutely crucial has so far been notified. But in conjunction with what we had from Paris at the beginning of the year, I am confident we could now satisfy the Court. We shall, of course, continue to watch the matter until we hear from you.
“Very faithfully yours,
Soames read it through twice and beckoned to the waiter:
“Take this away; it’s cold.”
“Shall I bring you some more, sir?”
“No. Get me some coffee in the other room.”
And, paying for what he had not eaten, he went out, passing two acquaintances without sign of recognition.
‘Satisfy the Court!’ he thought, sitting at a little round marble table with the coffee before him. That fellow Jolyon! He poured out his coffee, sweetened and drank it. He would disgrace him in the eyes of his own children! And rising, with that resolution hot within him, he found for the first time the inconvenience of being his own solicitor. He could not treat this scandalous matter in his own office. He must commit the soul of his private dignity to a stranger, some other