Samuel Butler: The Way of All Flesh

82. CHAPTER LXXXII (continued)

Of course there could be no hesitation on Ernest's part. He could afford to smile now at his father's offering to pay for his clothes, and his sending him a Post Office order for the exact price of a second-class ticket, and he was of course shocked at learning the state his mother was said to be in, and touched at her desire to see him. He telegraphed that he would come down at once. I saw him a little before he started, and was pleased to see how well his tailor had done by him. Towneley himself could not have been appointed more becomingly. His portmanteau, his railway wrapper, everything he had about him, was in keeping. I thought he had grown much better-looking than he had been at two or three and twenty. His year and a half of peace had effaced all the ill effects of his previous suffering, and now that he had become actually rich there was an air of insouciance and good humour upon his face, as of a man with whom everything was going perfectly right, which would have made a much plainer man good-looking. I was proud of him and delighted with him. "I am sure," I said to myself, "that whatever else he may do, he will never marry again."

The journey was a painful one. As he drew near to the station and caught sight of each familiar feature, so strong was the force of association that he felt as though his coming into his aunt's money had been a dream, and he were again returning to his father's house as he had returned to it from Cambridge for the vacations. Do what he would, the old dull weight of home-sickness began to oppress him, his heart beat fast as he thought of his approaching meeting with his father and mother, "and I shall have," he said to himself, "to kiss Charlotte."

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