John, having finished his cigarette, rose.
'The natural view is an uncommonly disagreeable one,' he said. 'However, I have no intention of quarrelling with you. I'll only just say that, as I take a share in the expenses of my mother's house, this question decidedly concerns me; and I'll add that I think it ought to concern you a good deal more than it seems to.'
Reardon, ashamed already of his violence, paused upon these remarks.
'It shall,' he uttered at length, coldly. 'You have put it clearly enough to me, and you shan't have spoken in vain. Is there anything else you wish to say?'
They parted with distant civility, and Reardon closed the door behind his visitor.
He knew that his character was seen through a distorting medium by Amy's relatives, to some extent by Amy herself; but hitherto the reflection that this must always be the case when a man of his kind is judged by people of the world had strengthened him in defiance. An endeavour to explain himself would be maddeningly hopeless; even Amy did not understand aright the troubles through which his intellectual and moral nature was passing, and to speak of such experiences to Mrs Yule or to John would be equivalent to addressing them in alien tongues; he and they had no common criterion by reference to which he could make himself intelligible. The practical tone in which John had explained the opposing view of the situation made it impossible for him to proceed as he had purposed. Amy would never come to him in his poor lodgings; her mother, her brother, all her advisers would regard such a thing as out of the question. Very well; recognising this, he must also recognise his wife's claim upon him for material support. It was not in his power to supply her with means sufficient to live upon, but what he could afford she should have.
When he went out, it was with a different purpose from that of half an hour ago. After a short search in the direction of Edgware Road, he found a dealer in second-hand furniture, whom he requested to come as soon as possible to the flat on a matter of business. An hour later the man kept his appointment. Having brought him into the study, Reardon said:
'I wish to sell everything in this flat, with a few exceptions that I'll point out to you'.
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