Open main menu

Page:Tono-Bungay.djvu/462

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
454
TONO-BUNGAY

his career, and looked about him before he died. For he had quite clear-minded states in the intervals of his delirium.

He knew he was almost certainly dying. In a way that took the burthen of his cares off his mind. There was no more Neal to face, no more flights or evasions, no punishments.

"It has been a great career, George," he said, "but I shall be glad to rest. Glad to rest! . . . Glad to rest."

His mind ran rather upon his career, and usually, I am glad to recall, with a note of satisfaction and approval. In his delirious phases he would most often exaggerate this self-satisfaction, and talk of his splendours. He would pluck at the sheet and stare before him, and whisper half-audible fragments of sentences.

"What is this great place, these cloud-capped towers, these airy pinnacles? . . . Ilion. Sky-y-pointing. . . . Ilion House, the residence of one of our great merchant princes. . . . Terrace above terrace. Reaching to the Heavens. . . . Kingdoms Cæsar never knew. . . . A great poet, George. Zzzz. Kingdoms Cæsar never knew. . . . Under entirely new management.

"Greatness. . . . Millions. . . . Universities. . . . He stands on the terrace—on the upper terrace—directing—directing—by the globe—directing—the trade. . . ."

It was hard at times to tell when his sane talk ceased and his delirium began. The secret springs of his life, the vain imaginations, were revealed. I sometimes think that all the life of man sprawls abed, careless and unkempt, until it must needs clothe and