COMING INTO THE SQUARE was like being suddenly dead, it was so silent and so still to one so lately jostled by the innumerable crowd and deafened by unceasing shouts. The shouting had continued for so long that it had assumed the appearance of being a solid and unvarying thing, like life. So the silence appeared like Death; and now she had death in her heart. She was going to confront a madman in a stripped house. And the empty house stood in an empty square all of whose houses were so eighteenth-century and silver grey and rigid and serene that they ought all to be empty too and contain dead, mad men. And was this the errand? For to-day when all the world was mad with joy? To become bear-ward to a man who had got rid of all his furniture and did not know the porter -- mad without joy!
It turned out to be worse than she expected. She had expected to turn the handle of a door of a tall, empty room; in a space made dim with shutters she would see him, looking suspiciously round over his shoulder, a grey badger or a bear taken at its dim occupations. And in uniform. But she was not given time even to be ready. In the last moment she was to steel herself incredibly. She was to become the cold nurse of a shell-shock case.
But there was not any last moment. He charged upon her. There in the open. More like a lion. He came, grey all over, his grey hair-- or the grey patches of his hair--shining, charging down the steps, having slammed the hall door. And lopsided. He was carrying under his arm a diminutive piece of furniture. A cabinet.
It was so quick. It was like having a fit. The houses tottered. He
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Publication information: Book title: Parade's End. Contributors: Ford Madox Ford - Author. Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1950. Page number: 645.
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