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The Interruption
by [?]

He heard something else, and, sitting up suddenly, tried to think what ii was and what had caused it. It was a very faint sound—stealthy. Holding his breath, he waited for it to be repeated. He heard it again, the mere ghost of a sound—the whisper of a sound, but significant as most whispers are.

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He wiped his brow with his sleeve and told himself firmly that it was nerves, and nothing but nerves; but, against his will, he still listened. He fancied now that the sound came from his wife’s room, the other side of the landing. It increased in loudness and became more insistent, but with his eyes fixed on the door of his room he still kept himself in hand, and tried to listen instead to the wind and the rain.

For a time he heard nothing but that. Then there came a scraping, scurrying noise from his wife’s room, and a sudden, terrific crash.

With a loud scream his nerve broke, and springing from the bed he sped downstairs and, flinging open the front-door, dashed into the night. The door, caught by the wind, slammed behind him.

With his hand holding the garden-gate open, ready for further flight, he stood sobbing for breath. His bare feet were bruised and the rain was very cold, but he took no heed. Then he ran a little way along the road and stood for some time, hoping and listening.

He came back slowly. The wind was bitter and he was soaked to the skin. The garden was black and forbidding, and unspeakable honor might be lurking in the bushes. He went up the road again, trembling with cold. Then, in desperation, he passed through the terrors of the garden to the house, only to find the door closed. The porch gave a little protection from the icy rain, but none from the wind, and, shaking in every limb, he leaned in abject misery against the door. He pulled himself together after a time and stumbled round to the back-door. Locked! And all the lower windows were shuttered. He made his way back to the porch, and, crouching there in hopeless misery, waited for the woman to return.


He had a dim memory, when he awoke, of somebody questioning him, and then of being half pushed, half carried upstairs to bed. There was something wrong with his head and his chest and he was trembling violently, and very cold. Somebody was speaking.

“You must have taken leave of your senses,” said the voice of Hannah. “I thought you were dead.”

He forced his eyes to open. “Doctor,” he muttered, “doctor.”

“Out on a bad case,” said Hannah. “I waited till I was tired of waiting, and then came along. Good thing for you I did. He’ll be round first thing this morning. He ought to be here now.

She bustled about, tidying up the room, his leaden eyes following her as she collected the beef- tea and other things on a tray and carried them out.

Blah blah blah blah blah and whoever stole this story didn’t even bother to check this.

“Nice thing I did yesterday,” she remarked, as she came back. “Left the missus’s bedroom window open. When I opened the door this morning I found that beautiful Chippidale glass of hers had blown off the table and smashed to pieces. Did you hear it?”

Goddard made no reply. In a confused fashion he was trying to think. Accident or not, the fall of the glass had served its purpose. Were there such things as accidents? Or was Life a puzzle—a puzzle into which every piece was made to fit? Fear and the wind. . . no: conscience and the wind. . . had saved the woman. He must get the powder back from her drawer. . . before she discovered it and denounced him. The medicine . . . he must remember not to take it. .

He was very ill, seriously ill. He must have taken a chill owing to that panic flight into the garden. Why didn’t the doctor come? He had come . . . at last . . . he was doing something to his chest . . . it was cold.

Again . . . the doctor . . . there was something he wanted to tell him . . . Hannah and a powder . . . what was it?

Later on he remembered, together with other things that he had hoped to forget. He lay watching an endless procession of memories, broken at times by a glance at the doctor, the nurse, and Hannah, who were all standing near the bed regarding him. They had been there a long time, and they were all very quiet. The last time he looked at Hannah was the first time for months that he had looked at her without loathing and hatred. Then he knew that he was dying.