For some yards before reaching the Hilberys' door he walked in a trance of pleasure, but when he reached it, and pushed the gate of the little garden open, he hesitated. He did not know what to do next. There was no hurry, however, for the outside of the house held pleasure enough to last him some time longer.
She seemed to make him free with a wave of her hand to all that she possessed. He left the room. The Hilberys' house was tall, possessing many stories and passages with closed doors, all, once he had passed the drawing-room floor, unknown to Ralph. He mounted as high as he could and knocked at the first door he came to. "May I come in?" he asked. A voice from within answered "Yes."
For ever since he had visited the Hilberys he had been much at the mercy of a phantom Katharine, who came to him when he sat alone, and answered him as he would have her answer, and was always beside him to crown those varying triumphs which were transacted almost every night, in imaginary scenes, as he walked through the lamplit streets home from the office.
In this little sanctuary were gathered together several different people, but their identity was dissolved in a general glory of something that might, perhaps, be called civilization; at any rate, all dryness, all safety, all that stood up above the surge and preserved a consciousness of its own, was centered in the drawing-room of the Hilberys.
The Hilberys subscribed to a library, which delivered books on Tuesdays and Fridays, and Katharine did her best to interest her parents in the works of living and highly respectable authors; but Mrs. Hilbery was perturbed by the very look of the light, gold-wreathed volumes, and would make little faces as if she tasted something bitter as the reading went on; while Mr.
He began to wish to tell her about the Hilberys in order to abuse them, for in the miniature battle which so often rages between two quickly following impressions of life, the life of the Hilberys was getting the better of the life of the Denhams in his mind, and he wanted to assure himself that there was some quality in which Joan infinitely surpassed Miss Hilbery.
It was out of the question that she should put any more household work upon herself. No, the hardship must fall on him, for he was determined that his family should have as many chances of distinguishing themselves as other families had as the Hilberys had, for example.
And who knows?" she concluded, looking at Katharine, "your father may be made a baronet to-morrow." Lady Otway, who was Mr. Hilbery's sister, knew quite well that, in private, the Hilberys called Sir Francis "that old Turk," and though she did not follow the drift of Mrs. Hilbery's remarks, she knew what prompted them.
Moreover, he could not help suspecting that Ralph was wandering near the Hilberys' house, at this hour, for reasons connected with Katharine. There was probably some understanding between them not that anything of the kind mattered to him now. He was convinced that he had never cared for any one save Cassandra, and Katharine's future was no concern of his.
Denham carefully sheathed the sword which the Hilberys said belonged to Clive. "I shouldn't like to be you; that's all I said," he replied, as if he were saying what he thought as accurately as he could. "No, but one never would like to be any one else." "I should. I should like to be lots of other people." "Then why not us?" Katharine asked.