A sense of depression swept over him as he was driven through the crowded streets towards Waterloo. The half-scornful, half-earnest prophecy, to which he had listened years ago in a squalid African hut, flashed into his mind. For the first time he began to have dim apprehensions as to his future. All his life he had been a toiler, and joy had been with him in the fierce combat which he had waged day by day. He had fought his battle and he had won - where were the fruits of his victory? A puny, miserable little creature like Dickenson could prate of happiness and turn a shining face to the future - Dickenson who lived upon a pittance, who depended upon the whim of his employer, and who confessed to ambitions which were surely pitiable. Trent lit a fresh cigar and smiled; things would surely come right with him - they must. What Dickenson could gain was surely his by right a thousand times over.
He took the train for Walton, travelling first class, and treated with much deference by the officials on the line. As he alighted and passed through the booking-hall into the station-yard a voice hailed him. He looked up sharply. A carriage and pair of horses was waiting, and inside a young woman with a very smart hat and a profusion of yellow hair.
"Come on, General," she cried. "I've done a skip and driven down to meet you. Such jokes when they miss me. The old lady will be as sick as they make 'em. Can't we have a drive round for an hour, eh?"
Her voice was high-pitched and penetrating. Listening to it Trent unconsciously compared it with the voices of the women of that other world into which he had wandered earlier in the afternoon. He turned a frowning face towards her.
"You might have spared yourself the trouble," he said shortly. "I didn't order a carriage to meet me and I don't want one. I am going to walk home."
"What a beastly temper you're in!" she remarked. "I'm not particular about driving. Do you want to walk alone?"
"Exactly!" he answered. "I do!"
She leaned back in the carriage with heightened colour.