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Page:Gissing - Isabel Clarendon, vol. II, 1886.djvu/10

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Isabel Clarendon.

of a civilised man." A mode of looking at things wherein Vincent was probably rational enough.

On the present morning, about the middle of January, no sight of dolorous traffic had disturbed his soul. When he raised his blind, the gas had merely reflected itself against the window-panes; outside was Stygian darkness, vaguely lurid in one or two directions; the day was blinded with foul vapour. He shrugged his shoulders, and went through the operation of dressing in a dispirited way. In his sitting-room things were a trifle better; with a blazing fire and drawn curtains, it was just possible to counterfeit the cheerful end of day. The odour of coffee and cutlets aided him in forgetfulness of external miseries.

"I suppose," Vincent mused, as he propped the newspaper against the coffee-pot, "they go to business even such mornings as this. Great heavens!"

When the woman who waited upon him in his chambers had cleared the table and betaken herself to other quarters where her services were in request, Lacour placed himself in a deep chair, extended his limbs, and lit a cigarette from the box which stood on a little round table at his elbow. He was still in his dressing-gown; and, as he let his head fall back and