'It's in an honourable way, my dear fellow. I'm a slave to women, true, but all in an honourable way. After that last adventure of mine most men would be savage and cynical, wouldn't they, now? I'm nothing of the kind. I think no worse of women--not a bit. I reverence them as much as ever. There must be a good deal of magnanimity in me, don't you think?'
'But it's the simple truth,' pursued the other. 'You should have seen the letter I wrote to that girl at Birmingham--all charity and forgiveness. I meant it, every word of it. I shouldn't talk to everyone like this, you know; but it's as well to show a friend one's best qualities now and then.'
'Is Reardon still living at the old place?'
'No, no. They sold up everything and let the flat. He's in lodgings somewhere or other. I'm not quite intimate enough with him to go and see him under the circumstances. But I'm surprised you know nothing about it.'
'I haven't seen much of them this year. Reardon--well, I'm afraid he hasn't very much of the virtue you claim for yourself. It rather annoys him to see me going ahead.'
'Really? His character never struck me in that way.'
'You haven't come enough in contact with him. At all events, I can't explain his change of manner in any other way. But I'm sorry for him; I am, indeed. At a hospital? I suppose Carter has given him the old job again?'
'Don't know. Biffen doesn't talk very freely about it; there's a good deal of delicacy in Biffen, you know. A thoroughly good-hearted fellow. And so is Reardon, I believe, though no doubt he has his weaknesses.'