Page:The Voyage Out.djvu/108

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entirely of legs. Deep in an armchair he was reading the third volume of Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of Rome by candle light. As he read he knocked the ash automatically, now and again, from his cigarette and turned the page, while a whole procession of splendid sentences entered his capacious brow and went marching through his brain in order. It seemed likely that this process might continue for an hour or more, until the entire regiment had shifted its quarters, had not the door opened, and the young man, who was inclined to be stout, come in with large naked feet.

"Oh, Hirst, what I forgot to say was——"

"Two minutes," said Hirst, raising his finger.

He safely stowed away the last words of the paragraph.

"What was it you forgot to say?" he asked.

"D'you think you do make enough allowance for feelings?" asked Mr. Hewet. He had again forgotten what he had meant to say.

After intense contemplation of the immaculate Gibbon Mr. Hirst smiled at the question of his friend. He laid aside his book and considered.

"I should call yours a singularly untidy mind," he observed. "Feelings? Aren't they just what we do allow for? We put love up there, and all the rest somewhere down below." With his left hand he indicated the top of a pyramid, and with his right the base.

"But you didn't get out of bed to tell me that," he added severely.

"I got out of bed," said Hewet vaguely, "merely to talk I suppose."

"Meanwhile I shall undress," said Hirst. When naked of all but his shirt, and bent over the basin, Mr. Hirst no longer impressed one with the majesty of his intellect, but with the pathos of his young yet ugly body, for he stooped, and he was so thin that there were dark lines between the different bones of his neck and shoulders.

"Women interest me," said Hewet, who, sitting on the bed with his chin resting on his knees, paid no attention to the undressing of Mr. Hirst.