“Oh. What a God-forsaken fool he was! And dimly, out there somewhere in the South Seas—the beach! Already he sensed the fascination of the inevitable; and with this fascination came the idea of haste, to get there quickly and have done. ’ If you engage me it must be upon my own merits. Wood turned to look at him. She had underestimated his animal ability to sense weakness. When I have traversed the streets a houseless wanderer, driven with curses from every door where I have solicited alms, and with blows from every gateway where I have sought shelter,—when I have crept into some deserted building, and stretched my wearied limbs upon a bulk, in the vain hope of repose,—or, worse than all, when, frenzied with want, I have yielded to horrible temptation, and earned a meal in the only way I could earn one,—when I have felt, at times like these, my heart sink within me, I have drank of this drink, and have at once forgotten my cares, my poverty, my guilt. Chapter XXII AN OLD FOOL Lady Ferringhall made room for him on the sofa by her side. He has given orders that no one is to disturb him. His invalid wife and her money had been only the thin thread that held his life together; beaded on that permanent relation had been an inter-weaving series of other feminine experiences, disturbing, absorbing, interesting, memorable affairs. She watched them sleep for what seemed hours from the high window until her body grew colder than the stone sill she perched upon. The island had evidently grown round this lagoon, approached it gradually from the volcanic upheaval—an island of coral and lava. With this person—who was no other than Mr. A few yards further off something grey, inert, was lying, a huddled-up heap of humanity twisted into a strange unnatural shape.
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