7. CHAPTER VII
He was not fully conscious when he passed through the gateway of his
house! he was already on the staircase before he recollected the axe.
And yet he had a very grave problem before him, to put it back and to
escape observation as far as possible in doing so. He was of course
incapable of reflecting that it might perhaps be far better not to
restore the axe at all, but to drop it later on in somebody's yard.
But it all happened fortunately, the door of the porter's room was
closed but not locked, so that it seemed most likely that the porter
was at home. But he had so completely lost all power of reflection
that he walked straight to the door and opened it. If the porter had
asked him, "What do you want?" he would perhaps have simply handed him
the axe. But again the porter was not at home, and he succeeded in
putting the axe back under the bench, and even covering it with the
chunk of wood as before. He met no one, not a soul, afterwards on the
way to his room; the landlady's door was shut. When he was in his
room, he flung himself on the sofa just as he was--he did not sleep,
but sank into blank forgetfulness. If anyone had come into his room
then, he would have jumped up at once and screamed. Scraps and shreds
of thoughts were simply swarming in his brain, but he could not catch
at one, he could not rest on one, in spite of all his efforts. . . .