Chapter 2

           Theprocessofgettingintothediningroomwasanightmaretohim. Betweenhaltsandstumbles,jerksandlurches,locomotionhadattimesseemedimpossible. Butatlasthehadmadeit,andwasseatedalongsideofHer. Thearrayofknivesandforksfrightenedhim. Theybristledwithunknownperils, andhegazedatthem,fascinated, tilltheirdazzlebecameabackgroundacrosswhichmovedasuccessionofforecastlepictures, whereinheandhismatessateatingsaltbeefwithsheath-knivesandfingers, orscoopingthickpea-soupoutofpannikinsbymeansofbatteredironspoons. Thestenchofbadbeefwasinhisnostrils, whileinhisears,totheaccompanimentofcreakingtimbersandgroaningbulkheads,echoedtheloudmouth-noisesoftheeaters. Hewatchedthemeating,anddecidedthattheyatelikepigs. Well,hewouldbecarefulhere. Hewouldmakenonoise. Hewouldkeephisminduponitallthetime. 

           Heglancedaroundthetable. OppositehimwasArthur,andArthur’sbrother,Norman. Theywereherbrothers,heremindedhimself, andhisheartwarmedtowardthem. Howtheylovedeachother,themembersofthisfamily! Thereflashedintohismindthepictureofhermother,ofthekissofgreeting,andofthepairofthemwalkingtowardhimwitharmsentwined. Notinhisworldweresuchdisplaysofaffectionbetweenparentsandchildrenmade. Itwasarevelationoftheheightsofexistencethatwereattainedintheworldabove. Itwasthefinestthingyetthathehadseeninthissmallglimpseofthatworld. Hewasmoveddeeplybyappreciationofit,andhisheartwasmeltingwithsympathetictenderness. Hehadstarvedforloveallhislife. Hisnaturecravedlove. Itwasanorganicdemandofhisbeing. Yethehadgonewithout,andhardenedhimselfintheprocess. 

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