"All right; I'll get out. Evening clothes."
And Meller, taking out dress suit and shirt, thought: 'Now, what does the old bloomer want dressin' up again for; why can't he go to bed and have his dinner there? When a man's like a baby, the cradle's the place for him.'....
An hour later, at the scene of his encounter with Mr. Ventnor, where the table was already laid for dinner, old Heythorp stood and gazed. The curtains had been drawn back, the window thrown open to air the room, and he could see out there the shapes of the dark trees and a sky grape-coloured, in the mild, moist night. It smelt good. A sensuous feeling stirred in him, warm from his bath, clothed from head to foot in fresh garments. Deuce of a time since he had dined in full fig! He would have liked a woman dining opposite--but not the holy woman; no, by George!--would have liked to see light falling on a woman's shoulders once again, and a pair of bright eyes! He crossed, snail-like, towards the fire. There that bullying fellow had stood with his back to it--confound his impudence!--as if the place belonged to him. And suddenly he had a vision of his three secretaries' faces--especially young Farney's as they would look, when the pack got him by the throat and pulled him down. His co- directors, too! Old Heythorp! How are the mighty fallen! And that hound jubilant!
His valet passed across the room to shut the window and draw the curtains. This chap too! The day he could no longer pay his wages, and had lost the power to say "Shan't want your services any more"-- when he could no longer even pay his doctor for doing his best to kill him off! Power, interest, independence, all--gone! To be dressed and undressed, given pap, like a baby in arms, served as they chose to serve him, and wished out of the way--broken, dishonoured!
By money alone an old man had his being! Meat, drink, movement, breath! When all his money was gone the holy woman would let him know it fast enough. They would all let him know it; or if they didn't, it would be out of pity! He had never been pitied yet--thank God! And he said:
"Get me up a bottle of Perrier Jouet. What's the menu?"
"Germane soup, sir; filly de sole; sweetbread; cutlet soubees, rum souffly."
"Tell her to give me a hors d'oeuvre, and put on a savoury."