Page:The Voyage Out.djvu/352

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of numbness all over his body. Was it his body? Were those really his own hands?

This morning also for the first time Ridley found it impossible to sit alone in his room. He was very uncomfortable downstairs, and, as he did not know what was going on, constantly in the way; but he would not leave the drawing-room. Too restless to read, and having nothing to do, he began to pace up and down reciting poetry in an undertone. Occupied in various ways—now in undoing parcels, now in uncorking bottles, now in writing directions, the sound of Ridley's song and the beat of his pacing worked into the minds of Terence and St. John all the morning as a half comprehended refrain.

They wrestled up, they wrestled down.
They wrestled sore and still:
The fiend who blinds the eyes of men,
That night he had his will.

Like stags full spent, among the bent
They dropped awhile to rest——

"Oh, it's intolerable!" Hirst exclaimed, and then checked himself, as if it were a breach of their agreement. Again and again Terence would creep half-way up the stairs in case he might be able to glean news of Rachel. But the only news now was of a very fragmentary kind; she had drunk something; she had slept a little; she seemed quieter. In the same way, Dr. Lesage confined himself to talking about details, save once when he volunteered the information that he had just been called in to ascertain, by severing a vein in the wrist, that an old lady of eighty-five was really dead. She had a horror of being buried alive.

"It is a horror," he remarked, "that we generally find in the very old, and seldom in the young." They both expressed their interest in what he told them; it seemed to them very strange. Another strange thing about the day was that the luncheon was forgotten by all of them until it was late in the afternoon, and then Mrs. Chailey waited on them, and looked strange too, because she wore a stiff print dress, and her sleeves were rolled up above her elbows. She seemed as oblivious of her appearance, however, as if she had been called out of her bed