"All right! You needn't tweak my mane!"
At the station he wrote a second telegram to the farm, and then tore it up; he could not have explained why. From Brixham they drove in a very little wagonette. There, squeezed between Sabina and Freda, with his knees touching Stella's, they played "Up, Jenkins "; and the gloom he was feeling gave way to frolic. In this one day more to think it over, he did not want to think! They ran races, wrestled, paddled--for to-day nobody wanted to bathe--they sang catches, played games, and ate all they had brought. The little girls fell asleep against him on the way back, and his knees still touched Stella's in the narrow wagonette. It seemed incredible that thirty hours ago he had never set eyes on any of those three flaxen heads. In the train he talked to Stella of poetry, discovering her favourites, and telling her his own with a pleasing sense of superiority; till suddenly she said, rather low:
"Phil says you don't believe in a future life, Frank. I think that's dreadful."
Disconcerted, Ashurst muttered:
"I don't either believe or not believe--I simply don't know."
"I couldn't bear that. What would be the use of living?"
Watching the frown of those pretty oblique brows, Ashurst answered:
"I don't believe in believing things because a one wants to."