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Night and Day

CHAPTER V
Denham had no conscious intention of following Katharine, but, seeing her
depart, he took his hat and ran rather more quickly down the stairs than he would
have done if Katharine had not been in front of him. He overtook a friend of his,
by name Harry Sandys, who was going the same way, and they walked together
a few paces behind Katharine and Rodney.
The night was very still, and on such nights, when the traffic thins away, the
walker becomes conscious of the moon in the street, as if the curtains of the sky
had been drawn apart, and the heaven lay bare, as it does in the country. The air
was softly cool, so that people who had been sitting talking in a crowd found it
pleasant to walk a little before deciding to stop an omnibus or encounter light
again in an underground railway. Sandys, who was a barrister with a philosophic
tendency, took out his pipe, lit it, murmured "hum" and "ha," and was silent. The
couple in front of them kept their distance accurately, and appeared, so far as
Denham could judge by the way they turned towards each other, to be talking
very constantly. He observed that when a pedestrian going the opposite way
forced them to part they came together again directly afterwards. Without
intending to watch them he never quite lost sight of the yellow scarf twisted round
Katharine's head, or the light overcoat which made Rodney look fashionable
among the crowd. At the Strand he supposed that they would separate, but
instead they crossed the road, and took their way down one of the narrow
passages which lead through ancient courts to the river. Among the crowd of
people in the big thoroughfares Rodney seemed merely to be lending Katharine
his escort, but now, when passengers were rare and the footsteps of the couple
were distinctly heard in the silence, Denham could not help picturing to himself
some change in their conversation. The effect of the light and shadow, which
seemed to increase their height, was to make them mysterious and significant,
so that Denham had no feeling of irritation with Katharine, but rather a half-
dreamy acquiescence in the course of the world. Yes, she did very well to dream
about--but Sandys had suddenly begun to talk. He was a solitary man who had
made his friends at college and always addressed them as if they were still
undergraduates arguing in his room, though many months or even years had
passed in some cases between the last sentence and the present one. The
method was a little singular, but very restful, for it seemed to ignore completely
all accidents of human life, and to span very deep abysses with a few simple
words.
On this occasion he began, while they waited for a minute on the edge of the
Strand:
"I hear that Bennett has given up his theory of truth."
Denham returned a suitable answer, and he proceeded to explain how this
decision had been arrived at, and what changes it involved in the philosophy
which they both accepted. Meanwhile Katharine and Rodney drew further ahead,
and Denham kept, if that is the right expression for an involuntary action, one
 
 
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