BANQUET AT BELBURY
IT was with great pleasure that Mark found himself once more dressing for dinner. He got a seat with Filostrato on his right and an inconspicuous newcomer on his left. Even Filostrato seemed human compared with the two initiates, and to the newcomer his heart positively warmed. He noticed with surprise the tramp sitting at the high table between Jules and Wither, but did not often look in that direction, for the tramp, catching his eye, had imprudently raised his glass and winked at him. The strange priest stood patiently behind the tramp's chair. Nothing of importance happened until the King's health had been drunk and Jules rose to make his speech.
For the first few minutes anyone glancing down the long tables would have seen what we always see on such occasions : the placid faces of bons viveurs whom food and wine had placed in a contentment which no amount of speeches could violate, the patient faces of diners who had learned how to pursue their own thoughts while attending just enough to respond wherever a laugh or a rumble of assent was obligatory, the fidgety faces of young men unappreciative of port and hungry for tobacco, the over-elaborate attention on the powdered faces of women who knew their duty to society. But if you had gone on looking down the tables you would presently have seen a change. You would have seen face after face look up and turn in the direction of the speaker. You would have seen first curiosity, then fixed attention, then incredulity. Finally, you would have noticed that the room was utterly silent, without a cough or a creak, that every eye was fixed on Jules, and soon every mouth opened in something between fascination and horror.
To different members of the audience the change came differently. To Frost it began at the moment when he heard Jules end a sentence with the words "as gross an anachronism as to trust to calvary for salvation in modern war". Cavalry, thought Frost. Why couldn't the fool mind what he was saying. Perhaps-but hallo! what was this? Jules seemed to be saying that the future density of mankind depended on the implosion of the horses of Nature. "He's drunk," thought Frost. Then, crystal clear in articulation, beyond all possibility of mistake, came "The madrigore of verjuice must be talthibianised."
Wither was slower to notice what was happening. He had never expected the speech to have any meaning as a whole, and for a long time the familiar catchwords rolled on in a manner which did not disturb the expectation of his ear. Then he thought: "Come! That's going too far. Even they must see that you can't talk about accepting the challenge of the past by throwing down the gauntlet of the future." He looked cautiously down the room. All was well. But it wouldn't be if Jules didn't sit down pretty soon. In that last sentence there were surely words he didn't know. What the deuce did he mean by aholibate? He looked down the room again. They were attending too much, always a bad sign. Then came the sentence, "The surrogates esemplanted in a continual of porous variations."
Mark did not at first attend to the speech at all. Once or twice some phrase made him want to smile. What first awoke him to the real situation was the behaviour of those who sat near him. He was aware of their increasing stillness. He noticed that everyone except himself had begun to attend. He looked up and saw their faces. And then first he really listened. "We shall not," Jules was saying, '' we shall not till we can secure the erebation of all pros-tundiary initems." He looked round again. Obviously it was not he who was mad -they had all heard the gibberish. Except possibly the tramp, who looked as solemn as a judge. He had never heard a speech from one of these real toffs before, and would have been disappointed if he could understand it. Nor had he ever before drunk vintage port, and though he did not much like the taste, he had been working away like a man.
Wither had not forgotten that there were reporters present. That in itself did not matter much. If anything unsuitable appeared in to-morrow's paper, it would be child's play for him to say that the reporters were drunk or mad and break them. On the other hand, he might let the story pass. Jules was a nuisance, and this might be as good an opportunity as any other for ending his career. But this was not the immediate question. Wither was wondering whether he should wait till Jules sat down or whether he should rise and interrupt him with a few judicious words. He did not want a scene. Glancing at his watch, he decided to wait two minutes more. Almost as he did so he knew that he had misjudged it. An intolerable falsetto laugh rang out; some fool of a woman had got hysterics. Immediately Wither touched Jules on the arm and rose.
"Eh? Blotcher bulldoo?" muttered Jules. But Wither, laying his hand on the little man's shoulder, quietly but with all his weight, forced him into a sitting position. Then Wither cleared his throat. He knew how to do that so that every eye in the room turned immediately to look at him. The woman stopped screaming Wither looked down the room for a second or two in silence, feeling his grip on the audience. He saw that he already had them in hand. There would be no more hysterics. Then he began to speak.
They ought to have all looked more and more comfortable as he proceeded; and there ought soon to have been murmurs of grave regret for the tragedy which they had just witnessed. That was what Wither expected. What he actually saw bewildered him. The same too attentive silence which had prevailed during Jules's speech had returned. The woman began to laugh again-or no, this time it was two women. Cosser bolted from the room.
The Deputy Director could not understand this, forto him his own voice seemed to be uttering the speech he had resolved to make. But the audience heard him saying, "Tidies and fulgemen-I sheel foor that we all-er-most steeply rebut the defensible, though, I trust, lavatory, aspasia which gleams to have selected our redeemed inspector this deceiving. It would-ah-be shark, very shark, from anyone's debenture . . ."
The woman who had laughed rose hastily from her chair. The man next to her heard her murmur, "Vood wooloo." He took in the meaningless syllables and her unnatural expression at one moment. Both for some reason infuriated him. He rose to help her to move back her chair with one of those gestures of savage politeness which often, in modern society, serve instead of blows. He wrenched the chair, in fact, out of her hand. She screamed, tripped, and fell. The man on the other side of her saw the first man's expression of fury. "Bot are you blammit?" he roared, leaning towards him. Four or five people in that part of the room were now up. They were shouting. There was movement elsewhere. Several men were making for the door. "Bundlemen, bundlemen," said Wither sternly, in a much louder voice.
He was not even heard. At least twenty people present were at that very moment attempting to do the same thing. To each of them it seemed plain that things were just at that stage when a word or so of plain sense, spoken in a new voice, would restore the whole room to sanity. As a result fresh gibberish in a great variety of tones rang out from several places at once. Frost was the only one of the leaders who attempted to say nothing. Instead he pencilled a few words on a slip of paper, beckoned to a servant, and made him understand by signs that it was to be given to Miss Hardcastle.
By the time the message was put into her hands the clamour was universal. Miss Hardcastle smoothed out the paper and stooped her head to read. The message ran: Blunt frippers intantly to pointed bdeluroid. Pwgent. Cost.
Miss Hardcastle had known before she got the message that she was three parts drunk. She had expected and intended to be so: she knew that later on in the evening she would go down to the cells and do things. There was a new prisoner there-a little fluffy girl of the kind the Fairy enjoyed-with whom she could pass an agreeable hour. The tumult of gibberish did not alarm her: she found it exciting. Apparently Frost wanted her to take some action. She decided that she would. She rose and walked the whole length of the room to the door, locked it, put the key in her pocket, and then turned to survey the company. She noticed for the first time that neither the supposed Merlin nor the Basque priest were anywhere to be seen. Wither and Jules, both on their feet, were struggling with each other. She set out towards them.
So many people had now risen that it took her along time to reach them. All semblance of a dinner-party had disappeared: it was more like the scene at a London terminus on a bank holiday. Everyone was trying to restore order, but everyone was unintelligible, and everyone, in the effort to be understood, was talking louder and louder. She shouted several times herself. She even fought a good deal before she reached her goal.
There came an ear-splitting noise and after that, at last, a few seconds of dead silence. Mark noticed first that Jules had been killed: only secondly that Miss Hardcastle had shot him. After that it was difficult to be sure what happened. The stampede and the shouting may have concealed a dozen reasonable plans for disarming the murderess, but it was impossible to concert them. She fired again and again. It was the smell more than anything else which recalled the scene to Mark in later life: the smell of the shooting mixed with the sticky compound smell of blood and port and Madeira.
Suddenly the confusion of cries ran all together into one thin, long-drawn noise of terror. Everyone had become more frightened. Something had darted across the floor between the two long tables and disappeared under one of them. Perhaps half the people present had not seen what it was-had only caught a gleam of black and tawny. But Mark had recognised it. It was a tiger.
For the first time that evening everybody realised how many hiding-places the room contained. The tiger might be under any of the tables. It might be in any of the deep bay windows, behind the curtains. There was a screen across one corner of the room, too.
It is not to be supposed that even now none of the company kept their heads. With loud appeals to the whole room or with urgent whispers to their immediate neighbours they tried to stem the panic, to arrange an orderly retreat from the room, to indicate how the brute could be lured or scared into the open and shot. The doom of gibberish frustrated their efforts. They could not arrest the two movements which were going on. The majority had not seen Miss Hardcastle lock the door: they were pressing towards it, to get out at all costs. A large minority, on the other hand, knew that the door was locked. There must be another door; they were pressing to the opposite end of the room to find it. The whole centre of the room was occupied by the meeting of these two waves-a huge scrum, at first noisy with efforts at explanation, but soon, as the struggle thickened, silent except for the sound of labouring breath, kicking or trampling feet, and meaningless muttering.
Four or five of these combatants lurched heavily against a table, pulling off the cloth in their fall and with it all the fruit-dishes, decanters, glasses, plates. Out of that confusion with a howl of terror broke the tiger. It happened so quickly that Mark hardly took it in. He saw the hideous head, the cat's snarl of the mouth, the flaming eyes. He heard a shot-the last. Then the tiger had disappeared again. Something fat and white and bloodied was down among the feet of the scrummers. Mark could not recognise it at first, for the face, from where he stood, was upside down, and the grimaces disguised it until it was quite dead. Then he recognised Miss Hardcastle.
Wither and Frost were no longer to be seen. There was a growling close at hand. Mark turned, thinking he had located the tiger. Then he caught out of the corner of his eye a glimpse of something smaller and greyer. He thought it was an Alsatian. If so, the dog was mad. It ran along the table, its tail between its legs, slavering. A woman, standing with her back to the table, turned, saw it, tried to scream, next moment went down as the creature leaped at her throat. It was a wolf. "Ai-ai!!" squealed Filostrato, and jumped on the table. Something else had darted between his feet. Mark saw it streak across the floor and enter the scrum and wake that mass of interlocked terror into new and frantic convulsions. It was some kind of snake.
Above the chaos of sounds which now awoke-there seemed to be a new animal in the room every minute- there came at last one sound in which those still capable of understanding could take comfort. Thud-thud-thud; the door was being battered from the outside. It was a huge folding door, a door by which a small locomotive could almost enter, for the room was made in imitation of Versailles. Already one or two of the panels were splintering. The noise maddened those who had made that door their goal. It seemed also to madden the animals. As if in imitation a great gorilla leaped on the table where Jules had sat and began drumming on its chest. Then, with a roar, it jumped down into the crowd.
At last the door gave. Both wings gave. The passage, framed in the doorway, was dark. Out of the darkness there came a grey snaky something. It swayed in the air: then began methodically to break off the splintered wood on each side and make the doorway clear. Then Mark saw distinctly how it swooped down, curled itself round a man-Steele, he thought-and lifted him bodily high off the floor. After that, monstrous, improbable, the huge shape of the elephant thrust its way into the room. It stood for a second with Steele writhing in the curl of its trunk and then dashed him to the floor. It trampled him. After that it raised head and trunk again and brayed horribly, then plunged straight forward into the room, trumpeting and trampling-continuously trampling like a girl treading grapes, heavily and soon wetly trampling in a mash of blood and bones, of flesh, wine, fruit, and sodden table-cloth. Then everything went black and Mark knew no more.
When Mr. Bultitude came to his senses he had found himself in a dark place full of unfamiliar smells. The smells were, on the whole, promising. He perceived that food was in the neighbourhood and-more exciting-a female of his own species. There were a great many other animals about too, apparently, but that was irrelevant. He decided to go and find both the female bear and the food. It was then he discovered that walls met him in three directions and bars in the fourth: he could not get out. This, combined with an inarticulate want for the human companionship to which he was accustomed, gradually plunged him into depression. Sorrow such as only animals know-huge seas of disconsolate emotion with not one little raft of reason to float on-drowned him fathoms deep. In his own fashion he lifted up his voice and wept.
And yet, not far away from him, another captive was almost equally engulfed. Mr. Maggs, seated in a little white cell, chewed steadily on his great sorrow as only a simple man can chew. An educated man in his circumstances would have been thinking how this new idea of cure instead of punishment, so humane in seeming, had in fact deprived the criminal of all rights and by taking away the name punishment made the thing infinite. But Mr. Maggs thought all the time simply of one thing: that this was the day he had counted on all through his sentence, that he had expected by this time to be having his tea at home with Ivy (she'd have got something tasty for him the first night) and that it hadn't happened. He sat quite still. About once in every two minutes a single large tear trickled down his cheek. He wouldn't have minded so much if they'd let him have a packet of fags.
It was Merlin who brought release to both. He had left the dining-room as soon as the curse of Babel was well fixed upon the enemies. No one saw him go. Wither had heard his voice calling loud and intolerably glad above the riot of nonsense, "Qyi Verbum Dei contempserunt, eis auferetur etiam verbum hominis."
"They that have despised the Word of God, from them shall the word of man also be taken away."
After that he did not see him again, nor the tramp either. Merlin had gone and spoiled his house. He had liberated beasts and men. The animals that were already maimed he killed with instantaneous power, swift as the mild shafts of Artemis. To Mr. Maggs he had handed a written message. It ran as follows:
"DEAREST TOM, -I do hope your well and the Director here is one of the right sort and he says to come as quick as you can to the Manor of St. Anne's. And don't go through Edgestow Tom whatever you do but come any way you can. No more now. Lots of love ever your own IVY."
The other prisoners he let go where they pleased. The tramp, finding Merlin's back turned on him for a second, made his escape, first into the kitchen and thence, reinforced with all the edibles his pockets would hold, into the wide world.
The beasts, except for one donkey who disappeared about the same time as the tramp Merlin sent to the dining-room, maddened with his voice and touch. But he retained Mr. Bultitude. Even without the brilliantine there was that in Merlin which exactly suited the bear. He laid his hand on its head and whispered in its ear, and its dark mind filled with excitement; long forbidden and forgotten pleasures were suddenly held out to it. Down the long, empty passages of Belbury it padded behind them. Saliva dripped from its mouth and it was beginning to growl. It was thinking of warm, salt tastes, of the pleasant resistances of bone, of things to crunch and lick and worry.
Mark felt himself shaken; then the cold shock of water dashed in his face. With difficulty he sat up. The room was empty except for the bodies of the distorted dead. The unmoved electric light glared down on hideous confusion-food and filth, spoiled luxury and mangled men, each more hideous by reason of the other. It was the supposed Basque priest who had roused him. "Surge, miselle," he said, helping Mark to his feet. Mark rose; he had some cuts and bruises and his head ached.
"Get up, wretched boy." looked with bewilderment on the face of the stranger and found that a letter was being put into his hand. "Your wife awaits you ", it ran, "at the Manor at St. Anne's on the Hill. Come by road as best you can. Do not go near Edgestow.-A. DENNISTON."
Merlin laid a hand on his shoulder, and impelled him over all the tinkling and slippery havoc to the door. His fingers sent a prickly sensation through Mark's skin. He was led down to the cloakroom, made to fling on a coat and hat (neither were his own) and thence out under the stars, bitter cold and two o'clock in the morning, Sirius bitter green, a few flakes of dry snow beginning to fall. He hesitated. The stranger, with his open hand, struck him on the back; Mark's bones ached at the memory as long as he lived. Next moment he found himself running as he had never run since boyhood; not in fear, but because his legs would not stop. When he became master of them again he was half a mile from Belbury, and looking back, he saw a light in the sky.
Wither was not killed in the dining-room. He knew all the possible ways out of the room, and before the coming of the tiger he had slipped away. He understood what was happening, not perfectly, yet better than anyone else. He saw that the Basque interpreter had done the whole thing. And, by that, he knew that powers more than human had come down to destroy Belbury; only one in the saddle of whose soul rode Mercury himself could thus have unmade language. And this told him something worse. It meant that his own dark Masters had been out in their calculations. They had talked of a barrier, had assured him that nothing from outside could pass the Moon's orbit. All their polity was "based on the belief that Tellus was blockaded. Therefore he knew that everything was lost.
It is incredible how little this knowledge moved him. It could not, because he had long ceased to believe in knowledge itself. He had passed from Hegel into Hume, thence through Pragmatism, and thence through Logical Positivism, and out at last into the complete void. The indicative mood now corresponded to no thought that his mind could entertain. Now, even the imminence of his own ruin could not wake him. The last moments before damnation are not always dramatic. Often the man knows that some still possible action of his own will could yet save him. But he cannot make this knowledge real to himself. With eyes wide open, seeing that the endless terror is just about to begin and yet (for the moment) unable to feel terrified, he watches, not moving a finger for his own rescue, while the last links with joy and reason are severed, and drowsily sees the trap close upon his soul. So full of sleep are they at the time when they leave the right way.
Straik and Filostrato were also still alive. They met in one of the cold, lighted passages, so far from the dining-room that the noise of the carnage was but a faint murmur. Filostrato was hurt, his right arm badly mauled. They did not speak-both knew that the attempt would be useless-but walked on side by side. Filostrato was intending to get round to the garage by a back way: he thought that he might still be able to drive, in a fashion, at least as far as Sterk.
As they rounded a corner they saw what they had expected never to see again-the Deputy Director, stooped, creaking, pacing, humming his tune. Filostrato did not want to go with him, but Wither, as if noticing his wounded condition, offered him an arm. Filostrato tried to decline it: nonsense syllables came from his mouth. Wither took his left arm firmly; Straik seized the other, the mauled arm. Squealing and shivering with pain, Filostrato accompanied them perforce. But worse awaited him. He was not an initiate, he knew nothing of the Dark Eldils. He believed that his skill had really kept Alcasan's brain alive. Hence, even in his pain, he cried out with horror when he found the other two drawing him through the ante-room of the Head and into the Head's presence without pausing for any of those antiseptic preparations which he had always imposed on his colleagues. He tried vainly to tell them that one moment of such carelessness might undo all his work. But this time it was in the room itself that his conductors began undressing. And this time they took off all their clothes.
They plucked off his, too. When the right sleeve, stiff with blood, would not move. Wither got a knife from the ante-room and ripped it. In the end, the three men stood naked before the Head. Then the high ridge of terror from which Filostrato was never again to descend, was reached; what he thought impossible began to happen. No one had read the dials, adjusted the pressures or turned on the air and the artificial saliva. Yet words came out of the dry mouth of the dead man's head. "Adore!" it said.
Filostrato felt his companions forcing his body forwards, then up again, then forwards and downwards a second time. He was compelled to bob up and down in rhythmic obeisance, the others meanwhile doing the same. Almost the last thing he saw on earth was the skinny folds on Wither's neck shaking like the wattles of a turkey-cock. Almost the last thing he heard was Wither beginning to chant. Then Straik joined in. Then, horribly, he found he was singing himself-
"Ouroborindra! Ouroborindra! Ouroborindra ba-ba-hce!"
But not for long. "Another," said the voice, " give me another head." Filostrato knew at once why they were forcing him to a certain place in the wall. He had devised it all himself. In the wall that separated the Head's room from the ante-chamber there was a little shutter. When drawn back it revealed a window in the wall, and a sash to that window which could fall quickly and heavily. But the sash was a knife. The little guillotine had not been meant to be used like this! They were going to murder him uselessly, unscientifically! If he were doing it to one of them, all would have been different; everything would have been prepared weeks beforehand-the temperature of both rooms exactly right, the blade sterilised, the attachments all ready to be made almost before the head was severed. He had even calculated what changes the terror of the victim would probably make in his blood-pressure: the artificial blood-stream would be arranged accordingly, so as to take over its work with the least possible breach of continuity. His last thought was that he had underestimated the terror.
The two initiates, red from top to toe, gazed at each other, breathing heavily. Almost before the fat dead legs and buttocks of the Italian had ceased quivering, they were driven to begin the ritual again-
"Ouroborindra! Ouroborindra! Ouroborindra ba-ba-hee!"
The same thought struck both of them at one moment- "It will ask for another." And Straik remembered that Wither had that knife. He wrenched himself free from the rhythm with a frightful effort; claws seemed to be tearing his chest from inside. As Straik bolted. Wither was already after him. Straik reached the ante-room, slipped in Filostrato's blood. Wither slashed repeatedly with his knife. He had not strength to cut through the neck, but he had killed the man. He stood up, pains gnawing at his old man's heart. Then he saw the Italian's head lying on the floor. It seemed to him good to pick it up and carry it into the inner room: show it to the original Head. He did so. Then he realised that something was moving in the ante-room. Could it be that they had not shut the outer door? He could not remember. He put down his burden and stepped towards the door between the rooms. A great bear, rising to its hind legs as he came in sight of it, met him in the doorway-its mouth open, its eyes flaming, its forepaws spread out as if for an embrace. Was this what Straik had become? He knew (though even now he could not attend to it) that he was on the very frontier of a world where such things could happen.
No one that night had been cooler than Feverstone. He was neither an initiate like Wither nor a dupe like Filostrato. He knew about the macrobes, but it wasn't the sort of thing he was interested in. He saw at a very early stage that something was going wrong. One had to guess how far wrong. Was this the end of Belbury? If so, he must get back to Edgestow and work up the position he had already prepared for himself as the protector of the University against the N.I.C.E. On the other hand, if there were any chance of figuring as the man who had saved Belbury at a moment of crisis, that would be definitely the better line. He would wait as long as it was safe. He found a hatch through which hot dishes were passed from the kitchen passage into the dining-room. He got through it and watched the scene. He thought he could pull and bolt the shutter in time if any dangerous animal made for the hatch. He stood there during the whole massacre, something like a smile on his face, smoking endless cigarettes and drumming with his hard fingers on the sill of the hatch. When it was all over he said to himself, "Well, I'm damned!" It had certainly been a most extraordinary show.
The beasts had all streaked away somewhere. He worked his way to the back of the house and into the garage; there were far fewer cars there than he had expected. Apparently other people had had the idea of getting away while the going was good, and his own car had been stolen. He felt no resentment, and set about finding another of the same make. It took him a longish time, and when he had found one he had considerable difficulty in starting her up. It was after two o'clock when he got going.
Just before he started he had the odd impression that someone had got into the back of the car behind him. "Who's that?" he asked sharply. He decided to get out and see. But to his surprise his body did not obey this decision: instead it drove the car out of the garage into the road. Snow was falling. He found he could not turn his head and could not stop driving. He was going ridiculously fast, too, in this damned snow. He had no choice. He'd often heard of cars being driven from the back seat, but now it seemed to be really happening. Then he found he had left the road. The car, still at a reckless speed, was bumping and leaping along what was called Gipsy Lane or (by the educated) Wayland Street-the old Roman Road from Belbury to Edgestow, all grass and ruts. "Here! What the devil am I doing?" thought Feverstone. "Am I tight? I'll break my neck at this game if I don't look out!"But on the car went as if driven by one who thought this track an excellent road and the obvious route to Edgestow.
Frost had left the dining-room a few minutes after Wither. He did not know where he was going or what he was about to do. For many years he had theoretically believed that all which appears in the mind as motive or intention is merely a by-product of what the body is doing. But for the last year or so-since he had been initiated- he had begun to taste as fact what he had long held as theory. Increasingly, his actions had been without motive. He did this and that, he said thus and thus, and did not know why. His mind was a mere spectator. He could not understand why that spectator should exist at all. He resented its existence, even while assuring himself that resentment also was merely a chemical phenomenon. The nearest thing to a human passion which still existed in him was a sort of cold fury against all who believed in the mind. There were not, and must not be, such things as men.
Thus the Frost whose existence Frost denied watched his body go into the anteroom, watched it pull up sharply at the sight of a naked and bloodied corpse. The chemical reaction called shock occurred. Frost stooped, turned the body over, and recognised Straik. A moment later his flashing pince-nez and pointed beard looked into the room of the Head itself. He hardly noticed that Wither and Filostrato lay there dead. His attention was fixed by something more serious. The bracket where the Head ought to have been was empty: the metal ring twisted, the rubber tubes tangled and broken. Then he noticed a head on the floor: stooped and examined it. It was Filostrato's. Of Alcasan's head he found no trace, unless some mess of broken bones beside Filostrato's were it.
Still not asking what he would do, or why, Frost went to the garage. He came up with as many petrol tins as he could carry. He piled all the inflammables he could think of together in the Objective Room. Then he locked the outer door of the ante-room. Something compelled him to push the key into the speaking-tube which communicated with the passage. When he had pushed it as far in as his fingers could reach, he took a pencil from his pocket and pushed with that. He heard the clink of the key falling on the floor outside. That tiresome illusion, his consciousness, was screaming in protest: his body had no power to attend to those screams. Like the clockwork figure he had chosen to be, his stiff body, now terribly cold, walked back into the Objective Room, poured out the petrol and threw a lighted match into the pile. Not till then did his controllers allow him to suspect that death itself might not cure the illusion of being a soul-nay, might prove the entry into a world where that illusion raged infinite and unchecked. Escape for the soul, if not for the body, was offered him. He became able to know (and simultaneously refused the knowledge) that he had been wrong from the beginning, that souls and personal responsibility existed. He half saw: he wholly hated. The torture of the burning was hardly fiercer than his hatred of that. With one supreme effort he flung himself back into his illusion. In that attitude eternity overtook him.