Neither of the gentlemen said anything for three minutes, though Jacob shifted perhaps five inches to the left, and then as many to the right. Then Jacob grunted, and suddenly crossed the room.
“Will you come and have something to eat?” he said to Clara Durrant.
“Yes, an ice. Quickly. Now,” she said.
Downstairs they went.
But half-way down they met Mr. and Mrs. Gresham, Herbert Turner, Sylvia Rashleigh, and a friend, whom they had dared to bring, from America, “knowing that Mrs. Durrant—wishing to show Mr. Pilcher.—Mr. Pilcher from New York—This is Miss Durrant.”
“Whom I have heard so much of,” said Mr. Pilcher, bowing low.
So Clara left him.
About half-past nine Jacob left the house, his door slamming, other doors slamming, buying his paper, mounting his omnibus, or, weather permitting, walking his road as other people do. Head bent down, a desk, a telephone, books bound in green leather, electric light.... “Fresh coals, sir?” ... “Your tea, sir."... Talk about football, the Hotspurs, the Harlequins; six-thirty Star brought in by the office boy; the rooks of Gray’s Inn passing overhead; branches in the fog thin and brittle; and through the roar of traffic now and again a voice shouting: “Verdict—verdict—winner—winner,” while letters accumulate in a basket, Jacob signs them, and each evening finds him, as he takes his coat down, with some muscle of the brain new stretched.
Then, sometimes a game of chess; or pictures in Bond Street, or a long way home to take the air with Bonamy on his arm, meditatively marching, head thrown back, the world a spectacle, the early moon above the steeples coming in for praise, the sea-gulls flying high, Nelson on his column surveying the horizon, and the world our ship.
Meanwhile, poor Betty Flanders’s letter, having caught the second post, lay on the hall table—poor Betty Flanders writing her son’s name, Jacob Alan Flanders, Esq., as mothers do, and the ink pale, profuse, suggesting how mothers down at Scarborough scribble over the fire with their feet on the fender, when tea’s cleared away, and can never, never say, whatever it may be—probably this—Don’t go with bad women, do be a good boy; wear your thick shirts; and come back, come back, come back to me.
But she said nothing of the kind. “Do you remember old Miss Wargrave, who used to be so kind when you had the whooping-cough?” she wrote; “she’s dead at last, poor thing. They would like it if you wrote. Ellen came over and we spent a nice day shopping. Old Mouse gets very stiff, and we have to walk him up the smallest hill. Rebecca, at last, after I don’t know how long, went into Mr. Adamson’s. Three teeth, he says, must come out. Such mild weather for the time of year, the little buds actually on the pear trees. And Mrs. Jarvis tells me—“Mrs.