I am sorry I missed Pasquale. I haven’t seen him for two or three years. He is a fascinating youth, a study in reversion. I will ask him to dinner here some day soon. It will be quieter than at the club.
Something has happened. Something fantastic, inconceivable. I am in a condition to be surprised at nothing. If a witch on a broomstick rode in through my open window and lectured me on quaternions, I should accept her visit as a normal occurrence.
I have spent hours walking up and down this book-lined room, wondering whether the universe or I were mad. Sometimes I laughed, for the thing is sheerly ridiculous. Sometimes I cursed at the impertinence of the thing in happening at all. Once I stumbled over a volume of Muratori lying on the floor, and I kicked it across the room. Then I took it up, and wept over the loosened binding.
The question is: What on earth am I to do? Why has Judith chosen this particular time to shut up her flat and sequester herself in Paris? Why did my lawyers appoint this particular morning for me to sign their silly documents? Why did I turn up three hours late? Why did I walk down the Thames Embankment? And why, oh, why, did I seat myself on a bench in the gardens below the terrace of the National Liberal Club?
Yesterday was one of the most peaceful and happy days of my existence. I worked contentedly at my history; I gossiped with Antoinette who came to demand permission to keep a cat.
“What kind of a cat?” I asked.
“Perhaps Monsieur does not like cats?” she inquired, anxiously.
“The cat was worshipped as a god by the ancient Egyptians,” I remarked.
“But this one, Monsieur,” she said in breathless reassurance, “has only one eye.”
I would sooner talk to Antoinette than the tutorial staff of Girton. If she woke up one morning and found she had a mind she would think it a disease.
In the afternoon I strolled into Regent’s Park and meeting the McMurray’s nine-year-old son in charge of the housemaid, around whom seemed to be hovering a sheepish individual in a bowler hat, I took him off to the Zoological Gardens. On the way he told me, with great glee, that his German governess was in bed with an awful sore throat; that he wasn’t doing any lessons; that the sheepish hoverer was Milly’s young man, and that the silly way they went on was enough to make one sick. When he had fed everything feedable and ridden everything ridable, I drove him to the Wellington Road and deposited him with his parents. I love a couple of hours with a child when it is thoroughly happy and on its best behaviour. And the enjoyment is enhanced by the feeling of utter thankfulness that he is not my child, but somebody else’s.