AFTER missing his vocation with the young man Butterfield, Michael had hesitated in the hall. At last he had not gone up-stairs again, but quietly out. He walked past the Houses of Parliament and up Whitehall. In Trafalgar Square, it occurred to him that he had a father. Bart might be at Snooks', The Coffee House, The Aeroplane; and, with the thought: 'He'd be restful,' he sought the most modern of the three.
"Yes, Sir Lawrence Mont is in the Lounge, sir."
He was sitting with knees crossed, and a cigar between his finger-tips, waiting for some one to talk to.
"Ah! Michael! Can you tell me why I come here?"
"To wait for the end of the world, sir?"
Sir Lawrence sniggered. "An idea," he said. "When the skies are wrecking civilisation, this will be the bestinformed tape in London. The wish to be in at the death is perhaps the strongest of our passions, Michael. I should very much dislike being blown up, especially after dinner; but I should still more dislike missing the next show, if it's to be a really good one. The air-raids were great fun, after all."
"Yes," he said, "the war got us used to thinking of the Millennium, and then it went and stopped, and left the Millennium hanging over us. Now we shall never be happy till we get it. Can I take one of your cigars, sir?"
"My dear fellow! I've been reading Fraser again. Extraordinary how remote all superstition seems, now that we've reached the ultimate truth: That enlightenment never can prevail."