his age is only despair in disguise--had now lifted him to the seventh heaven of
fatuous happiness once more. He believed in her again as he believed in the smart
new winter overcoat that he wore--as he believed in the dainty little cane
(appropriate to the dawning dandyism of lads in their teens) that he flourished in
his hand. He hummed! The worn-out old creature, who had not sung since his
childhood, hummed, as he paced the platform, the few fragments he could
remember of a worn-out old song.
The train was due as early as eight o'clock that night. At five minutes past the
hour the whistle sounded. In less than five minutes more the passengers were
getting out on the platform.
Following the instructions that had been given to him, Mr. Bashwood made his
way, as well as the crowd would let him, along the line of carriages, and,
discovering no familiar face on that first investigation, joined the passengers for a
second search among them in the custom-house waiting-room next.
He had looked round the room, and had satisfied himself that the persons
occupying it were all strangers, when he heard a voice behind him, exclaiming:
"Can that be Mr. Bashwood!" He turned in eager expectation, and found himself
face to face with the last man under heaven whom he had expected to see.
The man was MIDWINTER.