Stephen pulled up the collar of his coat as he walked briskly along the platform.
Overhead a dim fog clouded the station. Large engines hissed superbly, throwing off
clouds of steam into the cold raw air. Everything was dirty and smoke
Stephen thought with revulsion: ‘What a foul country—what a foul city!’
His first excited reaction to London, its shops, its restaurants, its well
women, had faded. He saw it now as a glittering rhinestone set in a dingy setting.
Supposing he were back in South Africa now.
.. He felt a quick pang of homesickness.
Sunshine—blue skies—gardens of flowers—cool blue flowers—hedges of plumbago—blue
convolvulus clinging to every little shanty.
And here—dirt, grime, and endless, incessant crowds—moving, hurrying—jostling. Busy
ants running industriously about their ant
For a moment he thought, ‘I wish I hadn’t come.
Then he remembered his purpose and his lips set back in a grim line.
No, by hell, he’d go on with it! He’d planned this for years. He’d always meant to do—
what he was going to do. Yes, he’d go on with it!
That momentary reluctance, that sudden questioning of himself: ‘Why? Is it worth it? Why
dwell on the past? Why not wipe out the whole thing?’—all that was only weakness. He
was not a boy—to be turned his this way and that by the whim of the moment. He was a
man of forty, assured, purposeful. He would go on with it. He would do what he had come
to England to do.
He got on the train and passed along the corridor looking for a place. He had waved aside
a porter and was carrying his own raw
hide suitcase. He looked into carriage after
carriage. The train was full. It was only three days before Christmas. Stephen Farr looked
distastefully at the crowded carriages.
People! Incessant, innumerable people! And all so—so—what was the word—so drab
looking! So alike, so horribly alike! Those that hadn’t got faces like sheep had faces like
rabbits, he thought. Some of them chattered and fussed. Some, heavily middle
grunted. More like pigs, those. Even the girls, slender, egg
lipped, were of a