THREE

I CRAWLED out of bed with a bad taste in my mouth and my bones creaking.

The fact was that, what with a bottle of wine at lunch and another at dinner, and several pints in between, besides a brandy or two, I'd had a bit too much to drink the day before. For several minutes I stood in the middle of the carpet, gazing at nothing in particular and too done-in to make a move. You know that god-awful feeling you get sometimes in the early morning. It's a feeling chiefly in your legs, but it says to you clearer than any words could do, "Why the hell do you go on with it? Chuck it up, old chap! Stick your head in the gas oven!"

Then I shoved my teeth in and went to the window. A lovely June day, again, and the sun was just beginning to slant over the roofs and hit the house-fronts on the other side of the street. The pink geraniums in the window- boxes didn't look half bad. Although it was only about half-past eight and this was only a side-street off the market-place there was quite a crowd of people coming and going. A stream of clerky-looking chaps in dark suits with despatch-cases were hurrying along, all in the same

-232-

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