Linda had been a slave, Linda had died; others should live in freedom, and the world be made beautiful. A reparation, a duty. And suddenly it was luminously clear to the Savage what he must do; it was as though a shutter had been opened, a curtain drawn back.

‘Now,’ said the Deputy-Bursar.

Another khaki female stepped forward.

‘Stop!’ called the Savage in a loud and ringing voice. ‘Stop!’

He pushed his way to the table; the Deltas stared at him with astonishment.

‘Ford!’ said the Deputy Sub-Bursar, below his breath. ‘It’s the Savage.’ He felt scared.

‘Listen, I beg you,’ cried the Savage earnestly. ‘Lend me your ears …’ He had never spoken in public before, and found it very difficult to express what he wanted to say. ‘Don’t take that horrible stuff. It’s poison, it’s poison.’

‘I say, Mr. Savage,’ said the Deputy Sub-Bursar, smiling propitiatingly. ‘Would you mind letting me …’

‘Poison to soul as well as body.’

‘Yes, but let me get on with my distribution, won’t you? There’s a good fellow.’ With the cautious tenderness of one who strokes a notoriously vicious animal, he patted the Savage’s arm. ‘Just let me …’

‘Never!’ cried the Savage.

‘But look here, old man …’

‘Throw it all away, that horrible poison.’

The words ‘Throw it all away’ pierced through the enfolding layers of incomprehension to the quick of the Deltas’ consciousness. An angry murmur went up from the crowd.

‘I come to bring you freedom,’ said the Savage, turning back towards the twins. ‘I come …’

The Deputy Sub-Bursar heard no more; he had slipped out of the vestibule and was looking up a number in the telephone book.

‘Not in his own rooms,’ Bernard summed up. ‘Not in mine, not in yours. Not at the Aphroditæum; not at the Centre or the College. Where can he have got to?’

Helmholtz shrugged his shoulders. They had come back from their work expecting to find the Savage waiting for them at one or other of their usual meeting-places, and there was no sign of the fellow. Which was annoying, as they had meant to nip across to Biarritz in Helmholtz’s four-seater sporticopter. They’d be late for dinner if he didn’t come soon.

‘We’ll give him five more minutes,’ said Helmholtz. ‘If he doesn’t turn up by then, we’ll …’

The ringing of the telephone bell interrupted him. He picked up the receiver. ‘Hullo. Speaking.’ Then, after a long interval of listening, ‘Ford in Flivver!’ he swore. ‘I’ll come at once.’

‘What is it?’ Bernard asked.

‘A fellow I know at the Park Lane Hospital,’ said Helmholtz. ‘The Savage is there. Seems to have gone mad. Anyhow, it’s urgent. Will you come with me?’

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.