That Hideous Strength CHAPTER THREE

BELBURY AND ST. ANNE'S-ON-THE-HILL

ON his way up the wide staircase Mark caught sight of himself in a mirror. The blob of cotton-wool on his lip had been blown awry during the journey and revealed a patch of blackened blood beneath it. A moment later he found himself in a room with a blazing fire, being introduced to Mr. John Wither, Deputy Director of the N.I.C.E.

Wither was a white-haired old man with a courtly manner. His face was clean-shaven and very large indeed, with watery blue eyes and something rather vague and chaotic about it. He did not appear to be giving them his whole attention, though his actual words and gestures were polite to the point of effusiveness. He said it was a great, a very great, pleasure to welcome Mr. Studdock among them. It added to the deep obligations under which Lord Feverstone had already laid him. He hoped they had had an agreeable journey. Mr. Wither appeared to be under the impression that they had come by air and, when this was corrected, that they had come from London by train. Then he began enquiring whether Mr. Studdock found his quarters perfectly comfortable and had to be reminded that they had only that moment arrived. "I suppose," thought Mark, "the old chap is trying to put me at my ease."In fact, Mr. Wither's conversation was having precisely the opposite effect. Mark wished he would offer him a cigarette. His growing conviction that this man knew nothing about him, and that all the schemes and promises of Feverstone were dissolving into mist, was uncomfortable. At last he endeavoured to bring Mr. Wither to the point by saying that he was still not quite clear in what capacity he would be able to assist the Institute.

"I assure you, Mr. Studdock," said the Deputy Director with an unusually far-away look in his eye, "that you needn't anticipate the slightest ... er ... the slightest difficulty on that point. There was never any idea of circumscribing your activities and your general influence on policy, much less your relations with your colleagues and what I might call in general the terms of reference under which you would be collaborating with us, without the fullest possible consideration of your own views and, indeed, your own advice. You will find us, Mr. Studdock, if I might express myself in that way, a very happy family."

"Oh, don't misunderstand me, sir," said Mark. "I only meant that I felt I should like some sort of idea of what exactly I should be doing if I came to you."

"Well now, when you speak of coming to us," said the Deputy Director, " that raises a point on which I hope there is no misunderstanding. I think we all agreed that no question of residence need be raised-I mean, at this stage. We thought, we all thought, that if you cared to live in Cambridge---"

"Edgestow," prompted Lord Feverstone. "Ah yes, Edgestow," here the Deputy Director turned, round and addressed Feverstone. "I was just explaining to Mr. ... er ... Studdock, and I feel sure you will fully agree with me, that nothing was farther from the mind of the committee than to dictate in any way, or even to advise, where Mr. --, where your friend should live. Of course, wherever he lives we should place air and road transport at his disposal. I dare say you have already explained to him that all questions of that sort will adjust themselves without the smallest difficulty."

"Really, sir," said Mark, "I wasn't thinking about that. I haven't-I mean I shouldn't have the smallest objection to living anywhere; I only---"

"But I assure you, Mr. ... er ... I assure you, sir, that there is not the smallest objection to your residing wherever you may find convenient. There was never, at any stage, the slightest suggestion---" but here Mark, in desperation, ventured to interrupt himself.

"It is the exact nature of the work," he said, "and of my qualifications for it that I wanted to get clear."

"My dear friend," said the Deputy Director, " you need not have the slightest uneasiness in that direction. As I said before, you will find us a very happy family, and may feel perfectly satisfied that no questions as to your entire suitability have been agitating anyone's mind in the least. I should not be offering you a position among us if there were the slightest danger of your not being completely welcome to all, or the least suspicion that your very valuable qualities were not fully appreciated. You are-you are among 'friends here, Mr. Studdock. I should be the last person to advise you to connect yourself with any organisation where you ran the risk of being exposed ... er ... to disagreeable personal contacts."

Mark did not ask again in so many words what the N.I.C.E. wanted him to do; partly because he began to be afraid that he was supposed to know this already, and partly because a perfectly direct question would have sounded a crudity in that room-a crudity which might suddenly exclude him from the warm and almost drugged atmosphere of vague, yet heavily important, confidence.

"You are very kind," he said. "The only thing I should like to get just a little clearer is the exact-well, the exact scope of the appointment."

"Well," said Mr. Wither in a voice so low and rich that it was almost a sigh. "I am very glad you have raised that issue now in a quite informal way. Obviously neither you nor I would wish to commit ourselves, in this room, in any sense which was at all injurious to the powers of the committee. We do not really think, among ourselves, in terms of strictly demarcated functions, of course. Everyone in the Institute feels that his own work is not so much a departmental contribution as a moment or grade in the progressive self-definition of an organic whole."

And Mark said-for he was young and shy and vain and timid-"I do think that is so important. The elasticity of your organisation is one of the things that attracts me." After that, he had no further chance of bringing the Director to the point, despite the torturing recurrence of the question, "What are we both talking about?"

At the very end of the interview there came one moment of clarity.- Mr. Wither supposed that he, Mark, would find it convenient to join the N.I.C.E. club: even for the next few days he would be freer as a member than as someone's guest. Mark agreed and then flushed crimson on learning that the easiest course was to become a life member at the cost of £200.

"How silly," he said aloud, "I haven't got my chequebook with me."

A moment later he found himself on the stairs with Feverstone.

"Well?" asked Mark eagerly.

Feverstone did not seem to hear him.

"Well?" repeated Mark. "When shall I know my fate? I mean, have I got the job?"

"Hullo, Guy!" bawled Feverstone suddenly to a man in the hall beneath. Next moment he had trotted down to the foot of the stairs, grasped his friend warmly by the hand, and disappeared. Mark, following him more slowly, found himself in the hall, among the groups and pairs of chattering men, who were all crossing it towards the big folding doors on his left.

The agreeable smells which came from the folding doors made it obvious that people were going to lunch. In the end he decided that he couldn't stand there looking like a fool any longer, and went in.

There was a single long table, already so nearly filled that, after looking in vain for Feverstone, he had to sit down beside a stranger. "I suppose one sits where one likes?" he murmured as he did so; but the stranger apparently did not hear. He was eating very quickly and talking at the same time to his neighbour on the other side.

"That's just it," he was saying. "As I told him, it makes no difference to me which way they settle it. I've no objection to the I.J.P. people taking over the whole thing if that's what the D.D. wants, but what I dislike is three H.D.s all tumbling over one another about some job that could really be done by a clerk. It's becoming ridiculous."

It was a relief to Mark when people began getting up from table. Following the general movement, he recrossed the hall and. came into a large room where coffee was being served. Here at last he saw Feverstone. Mark wished to approach him, if only to find out whether he were expected to stay the night, but the knot of men round Feverstone was of that confidential kind which it is difficult to join. He moved towards one of the many tables and began turning over the pages of an illustrated weekly. When he looked up he found himself face to face with one of his own colleagues, a Fellow of Bracton, called Hingest. The Progressive Element called him Bill the Blizzard.

Hingest had not been at the College meeting, and was hardly on speaking terms with Feverstone. Mark realised with a certain awe that here was a man directly in touch with the N.I.C.E.-one who started at a point beyond Feverstone. Bill the Blizzard had an old-fashioned curly moustache in which white had almost triumphed over yellow, a beak-like nose, and a bald head.

"This is an unexpected pleasure," said Mark with a hint of formality. He was always a little afraid of Hingest.

"Huh?" grunted Bill. "Eh ? Oh, it's you, Studdock ? Didn't know they'd secured your services here."

"I was sorry not to see you at the College meeting yesterday," said Mark.

This was a lie. The Progressive Element always found Hingest's presence an embarrassment. As a scientist-and the only really eminent scientist they had-he was their rightful property; but he was that hateful anomaly, the wrong sort of scientist. Glossop, who was a classic, was his chief friend in College. He had the air of not attaching much importance to his own revolutionary discoveries in chemistry and of valuing himself much more on being a Hingest: the family was of almost mythical antiquity.

"Eh? What's that? College meeting?" said the Blizzard. "What were they talking about?"

"About the sale of Bragdon Wood."

"All nonsense," muttered the Blizzard. "I hope you would have agreed with the decision we came to. "It made no difference what decision they came to.

"Oh!" said Mark with some surprise. ; It was all nonsense. The N.I.C.E. would have had the Wood in any case. They had powers to compel a sale."

"What an extraordinary thing! I was given to understand they were going to Cambridge if we didn't sell."

"Not a word of truth in it. And there's nothing extraordinary in the fact that the N.I.C.E. should wish to hand over to Bracton the odium of turning the heart of England into a cross between an abortive American hotel and a glorified gas-works. The only puzzle is why the N.I.C.E. should want that bit of land."

"I suppose we shall find out as things go on."

"You may, I shan't."

"Oh?" said Mark interrogatively.

"I've had enough of it," said Hingest, lowering his voice, "I'm leaving to-night. I don't know what you were doing at Bracton, but if it was any good I'd advise you to go back and stick to it."

"Really!" said Mark. "Why do you say that?"

"Doesn't matter for an old fellow like me," said Hingest, "but they could play the devil with you."

"As a matter of fact," said Mark, "I haven't fully made up my mind. I don't even know yet what my job would be if I stayed."

"What's your subject?"

"Sociology."

"Huh!" said Hingest. "In that case I can soon point you out the man you'd be under."

"Perhaps you could introduce me."

"All right," said Hingest. "No business of mine." Then he added in a louder voice, "Steele!"

Steele turned round. He was a tall, unsmiling man with that kind of face which, though long and horse-like, has nevertheless rather thick and pouting lips.

"This is Studdock," said Hingest. "The new man for your department." Then he turned away.

"Oh," said Steele. Then after a pause, "Did he say my department?"

"That's what he said," replied Mark. "I'm a sociologist-if that throws any light on it."

"I'm H.D. for sociology all right," said Steele. "But this is the first I've heard about you. Who told you you were to be there?"

"Well," said Mark, "the thing is rather vague. I've had a talk with the Deputy Director, but we didn't go into details."

Steele whistled. "I say, Cosser," he called out to a freckle-faced man who was passing by, "listen to this. Feverstone has just unloaded this chap on our department without a word to me about it. What do you think of that?"

"Well I'm damned!" said Cosser.

"I'm sorry," said Mark, a little stiffly. "I seem to have been put in a false position. I only came over as an experiment. It is a matter of indifference to me whether I take a job in the N.I.C.E. or not."

"You see," said Steele to Cosser, " there isn't really any room for a man in our show-specially for someone who doesn't know the work. Unless they put him on the U.L."

"That's right," said Cosser.

"Mr. Studdock, I think," said a new voice at Mark's elbow, a treble voice which seemed disproportionate to the huge hill of a man whom he saw when he turned his head. He recognised the speaker. His dark, smooth face and black hair were unmistakable, and so was the accent. This was Professor Filostrato, the physiologist, whom Mark had sat next to at a dinner two years before. Mark was charmed that such a man remembered him.

"I am very glad you have come to join us," said Filostrato, taking hold of Mark's arm and gently piloting him away from Steele and Cosser.

"To tell you the truth," said Mark, "I'm not sure that I have. I was brought over by Feverstone but he has disappeared, and Steele---"

"Bah! Steele!" said the Professor. "That is all a bagatelle. He gets too big for his boots. He will be put in his place one of these days. It may be you who will put him."

"I have a strong objection to being put in a false position---" began Mark.

"Listen, my friend," interrupted Filostrato. "The first thing to realise is that the N.I.C.E. is serious. It is nothing less than the existence of the human race that depends on our work: our real work, you comprehend? You will find frictions and impertinences among this canaglia, this rabble. They are no more to be regarded than your dislike of a brother officer when the battle is at his crisis."

"As long as I'm given something to do that is worth doing," said Mark, "I shouldn't allow anything of that sort to interfere with it."

"Yes, yes, that is right. These Steeles and Feverstones- they are of no consequence. As long as you have the good will of the Deputy Director you snap your fingers at them. You need listen to no one but him, you comprehend ? Ah-and there is one other. Do not have the Fairy for your enemy."

"The Fairy?"

"Yes. Her they call the Fairy. Oh, my God, a terrible Inglesaccia! She is the head of our police, the Institutional Police. Ecco, she come. I will present you. Miss Hardcastle, permit that I present to you Mr. Studdock."

Mark found himself writhing from the stoker's or carter's hand-grip of a big woman in a black, short-skirted uniform. Despite a bust that would have done credit to a Victorian barmaid, she was rather thickly built than fat and her iron-grey hair was cropped short. Her face was square, stern, and pale, and her voice deep. A smudge of lipstick laid on with violent inattention to the real shape of her mouth was her only concession to fashion, and she rolled or chewed a long black cheroot, unlit, between her teeth. As she talked she had a habit of removing this, staring intently at the mixture of lipstick and saliva on its mangled end, and then replacing it more firmly than before. She sat down immediately in a chair close to where Mark was standing, flung her right leg over one of the arms, and fixed him with a gaze of cold intimacy.

Click-clack, distinct in the silence, where Jane stood waiting, came the tread of the person on the other side of the wall. Then the door opened and Jane found herself facing a tall woman of about her own age.

"Does a Miss Ironwood live here?" said Jane.

"Yes," said the other girl, neither opening the door any farther nor standing aside.

"I want to see her, please," said Jane.

"Have you an appointment?" said the tall woman.

"Well, not exactly," said Jane. "Dr. Dimble said I shouldn't need an appointment."

"Oh, if you're from Dr. Dimble," said the woman, "come in. There's not room for two on this path, so you must excuse me if I go first." The woman led her along a brick path beside a wall on which fruit trees were growing, and then to the left along a mossy path with gooseberry bushes on each side.

Presently they found themselves at a small side door, flanked by a water butt, in the long wall of a large house. Just as they did so a window clapped shut upstairs.

A minute or two later Jane was sitting waiting in a large sparely furnished room with a shut stove to warm it. The tall woman's tread died away in the passages and the room became very quiet when it had done so. Occasionally the cawing of rooks could be heard. A long time passed.

When at length the other girl returned Jane now conceived for her that admiration which women, more often than is supposed, feel for other women. It would be nice, Jane thought, to be like that-so straight, so fit to be mounted on a horse, and so tall.

"Is . . . is Miss Ironwood in?" said Jane.

"Are you Mrs. Studdock?" said the girl.

"Yes," said Jane.

"I will bring you to her at once," said the other. "We have been expecting you. My name is Camilla Denniston."

Jane followed her. They went a long way before Camilla knocked at a door and stood aside for Jane to enter, saying "She has come." And Jane went in; and there was Miss Ironwood dressed all in black and sitting with her hands folded on her knees.

The hands were big and boney, though they did not suggest coarseness. She was perhaps nearer sixty than fifty.

"What is your name, young lady?" said Miss Ironwood, taking up a pencil and a note-book.

"Jane Studdock."

"Are you married?"

"Yes."

"Does your husband know you have come to us?"

"No."

"And your age, if you please?"

"Twenty-three."

"And now," said Miss Ironwood, "what have you to tell me?"

Jane took a deep breath. "I've been having bad dreams and-and feeling depressed lately."

Jane's narrative-she did not do it very well-took some time. While she was speaking she kept her eyes fixed on Miss Ironwood's large hands and her black skirt and the pencil and the note-book. As she proceeded she saw Miss Ironwood's hand cease to write and the fingers wrap themselves round the pencil: immensely strong fingers they seemed. And they tightened, as if under the influence of some stifled emotion, and broke the pencil in two. Jane stopped and looked up at Miss Ironwood's face. The grey eyes were still looking at her with no change of expression.

"Pray continue, young lady," said Miss Ironwood. Jane resumed her story. When she had finished, Miss

Ironwood put a number of questions. After that she became silent for so long that Jane said: "Is there, do you think, anything very serious wrong with me?"

"There is nothing wrong with you," said Miss Ironwood. "You mean it will go away?"

"I should say probably not."

"Is it something that can't be cured?"

"The reason you cannot be cured is that you are not ill."

"But there must be something wrong. It's surely not natural to have dreams like that.

There was a pause. "I think," said Miss Ironwood, "I had better tell you the whole truth."

"Yes, do," said Jane in a strained voice. "And I will begin by saying this," continued Miss Ironwood. "You are a more important person than you imagine."

Jane said nothing, but thought inwardly, "She is humoring me. She thinks I am mad."

"What was your maiden name?" asked Miss Ironwood. "Tudor," said Jane.

"The Warwickshire branch of the family?"

"Yes."

"Did you ever read a little book by an ancestor of yours about the Battle of Worcester?"

"No. Father had a copy-the only copy, I think."

"There are at least two others: one is in this house. Your ancestor gave a full and, on the whole, correct account of the battle, which he says he completed on the same day on which it was fought. But he was not at it."

Jane, who had not really been following this, looked at Miss Ironwood.

"If he was speaking the truth," said Miss Ironwood, "and we believe that he was, he dreamed it. Do you understand?"

"Dreamed about the battle?"

"Yes. But dreamed it right. He saw the real battle in his dream."

"I don't see the connection."

"Vision-the power of dreaming realities-is sometimes hereditary," said Miss Ironwood.

Something seemed to be interfering with Jane's breathing. She felt a sense of injury-this was just the sort of thing she hated.

"Can it be proved?" she asked. "I mean; we have only his word for it."

"We have your dreams."

"What do you mean?"

"My opinion is that you have seen real things in your dreams. You have seen Alcasan as he really sat in the condemned cell: and you have seen a visitor whom he really had."

"But-but-oh, this is ridiculous," said Jane. "That part was a mere coincidence. The rest was just nightmare. It was all impossible. He screwed off his head, I tell you. And they . . . dug up the horrible old man. They made him come to life."

"There are some confusions there, no doubt. But in my opinion there are realities behind even those episodes."

"I am afraid I don't believe in that sort of thing," said Jane coldly.

"Your upbringing makes it natural that you should not," replied Miss Ironwood.

"Can you, then, do nothing for me? I mean, can you not stop it-cure it?"

"Vision is not a disease."

"But I don't want it," said Jane passionately.

"If you go to a psychotherapist," said Miss Ironwood, "he will proceed on the assumption that the dreams reflect your own subconscious. He would try to treat you. It would certainly not remove the dreams."

"But what is this all about?" said Jane. "I want to lead an ordinary life. I want to do my own work. Why should I be selected for this horrible thing?"

There was a short silence. Jane made a vague movement and said, rather sulkily, "Well perhaps I'd better be going . . ." Then suddenly, "But how can you know all this?"

"We know your dreams to be partly true because they fit in with information we already possess. It was because he saw their importance that Dr. Dimble sent you to us."

"Do you mean he sent me here not to be cured but to give information?" said Jane.

"Exactly."

"I wish I had known that a little earlier," said Jane coldly, getting up to go. "I had imagined Dr. Dimble was trying to help me."

"He was. But he was also trying to do something more important at the same time."

"I suppose I should be grateful for being considered at all," said Jane dryly.

"Young lady," said Miss Ironwood. "You do not at all realise the seriousness of this matter. The things you have seen concern something compared with which the happiness, or even the life, of you and me is of no importance. You cannot get rid of your gift. You can try to suppress it, but you will fail, and you will be badly frightened. On the other hand, you can put it at our disposal. If you do, you will be less frightened in the long run and you will be helping to save the human race from a very great disaster. Or thirdly, you may tell someone else about it. If you do that, you will almost certainly fall into the hands of other people who are at least as anxious as we to make use of your faculty and who will care no more about your life and happiness than about those of a fly. The people you have seen in your dreams are real people. It is not at all unlikely that they know you have, involuntarily, been spying on them. I would advise you, even for your own sake, to join our side."

"You keep on talking of we and us. Are you some kind of company?"

"Yes. You may call it a company." Jane had been standing for the last few minutes: and she had almost been believing what she heard. Then suddenly all her repugnance came over her again-all her wounded vanity, and her general dislike of the mysterious and the unfamiliar. "She's made me worse already," thought Jane, still regarding herself as a patient. Aloud, she said: "I must go. I don't know what you are talking about. I don't want to have anything to do with it."

Mark discovered in the end that he was expected to stay, at least for the night, and when he went up to dress for dinner he was feeling more cheerful. This was partly due to a whisky-and-soda taken with "Fairy " Hardcastle immediately before. The bedroom with its bright fire and. its private bathroom attached had also something to do with it. Thank goodness he had allowed Jane to talk him into buying that new dress-suit! But what had reassured him most of all was his conversation with the Fairy.

It would be misleading to say that he liked her. She had indeed excited in him all the distaste which a young man feels at the proximity of something rankly, even insolently, sexed and at the same time wholly unattractive. And something in her cold eye had told him that she was well aware of this reaction and found it amusing. She had drifted into police reminiscences. In spite of some initial scepticism. Mark was gradually horrified by her assumption that about thirty per cent of our murder trials ended by the hanging of an innocent man. There were details, too, about the execution shed which had not occurred to him before.

All this was disagreeable. But it was made up for by the deliciously esoteric character of the conversation. Several times that day he had been made to feel himself an outsider: that feeling completely disappeared while Miss Hardcastle was talking to him. She had apparently lived an exciting life. She had been, at different times, a suffragette, a pacifist, and a British Fascist. She had been manhandled by the police and imprisoned. On the other hand, she had met Prime Ministers and Dictators, and all her history was secret history. She knew from both ends what a police force could do and what it could not, and there were in her opinion very few things it could not do.

For the Fairy, the police side of the Institute was the really important side. It existed to relieve the ordinary executive of what might be called all sanitary cases-a category which ranged from vaccination to charges of unnatural vice-from which it was only a step to bringing in all cases of blackmail. As regards crime in general, they had already popularised in the Press the idea that the Institute should be allowed to experiment largely in the hope of discovering how far humane, remedial treatment could be substituted for the old notion of " retributive " punishment. That was where legal Red Tape stood in their way. "But there are only two papers we don't control," said the Fairy. "And we'll smash them." And then one would have carte blanche. Mark did not immediately follow this. But the Fairy pointed out that what had hampered every English police force up to date was precisely the idea of deserved punishment. For deserved was finite: you could do so much to the criminal and no more. Remedial treatment, on the other hand, need have no limit; it could go on till it had effected a cure, and those who were carrying it out would decide when that was. And if cure were humane and desirable, how much more prevention? Soon anyone who had ever been in the hands of the police at all would come under the control of the N.I.C.E.; in the end, every citizen. "And that's where you and I come in," added the Fairy.

This had brought Mark back to his doubts whether he were really being given a job and, if so, what it was. But she had laughed at his fears. "You're in all right, sonny," she said. "Only don't be too particular about what exactly you've got to do. Wither doesn't like people who try to pin him down. And don't believe everything you're told."

At dinner Mark found himself next Hingest. "Well," said Hingest, "have they finally roped you in, eh? Because if you thought the better of it I'm motoring back to-night and I could give you a lift."

"You haven't yet told me why you are leaving us yourself," said Mark.

"Oh, well, it all depends what a man likes. If you enjoy the society of that Italian eunuch and the mad parson and that Hardcastle girl-her grandmother would have boxed her ears if she were alive-of course there's nothing more to be said."

"I suppose it's hardly to be judged on purely social grounds - I mean, it's something more than a club."

"Eh? Judged? Never judged anything in my life, except at a flower show. I came here because I thought it had something to do with science. Now that I find it's something more like a political conspiracy, I shall go home."

"You mean, I suppose, that the social planning doesn't appeal to you? I can understand that it doesn't fit in with your work as it does with sciences like sociology, but--"

"There are no sciences like sociology. And if I found chemistry beginning to fit in with a secret police run by a middle-aged virago who doesn't wear corsets and a scheme for taking away his farm and his shop and his children from every Englishman, I'd let chemistry go to the devil and take up gardening again."

"Bill!" said Fairy Hardcastle suddenly, from the far side of the table.

Hingest fixed his eyes upon her and his face grew a dark red.

"Is it true," bawled the Fairy, "that you're off by car after dinner?"

"Yes, Miss Hardcastle, it is."

"I was wondering if you could give me a lift."

"I should be happy to do so," said Hingest in a voice not intended to deceive, "if we are going in the same direction."

"Will you be passing Brenstock?"

"No, I go down Potter's Lane."

"Oh, damn! No good to me. I may as well wait till the morning."

After this Mark found himself engaged by his left-hand neighbour and did not see Bill the Blizzard again until he met him in the hall after dinner. He was in his overcoat and just ready to step into his car.

He began talking as he opened the door, and Mark was drawn into accompanying him across the gravel sweep to his car.

"Take my advice, Studdock," he said. "You'll do yourself no good by getting mixed up with the N.I.C.E.-and, by God, you'll do nobody else any good either."

"I suppose there are two views about everything," said Mark.

"Eh? Two views? There are a dozen views about everything until you know the answer. Goodnight."

He started up the car and drove off.

Jane came back from St. Anne's very little pleased with her interview, and had no sooner reached the flat than the telephone went. "Is that you, Jane?" came a voice. "It's me, Margaret Dimble. Such a dreadful thing's happened. I'll tell you when I come. I'm too angry to speak at the moment. Have you a spare bed by any chance? What? Mr. Studdock's away? Not a bit, if you don't mind. I've sent Cecil to sleep in College. You're sure it won't be a nuisance ? Thanks most awfully. I'll be round in half an hour."

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