“Now, as he strolled along in the mild sunshine, he realized that the reckoning was about to begin. When he saw again the house in which he had lived for so long with Elisabeth; when he went up in the lift in which the nurse with his baby in her arms, and his wife, looking very pale and happy, had gone up eight years before; when he stood before the door upon which his scholarly name gleamed sedately, Albinus was almost prepared to renounce any repetition of the previous night, if only a miracle had happened. He was sure that if Elisabeth had not read the letter, he would be able to explain his absence somehow—he might say he had tried, in jest, smoking opium at the rooms of that Japanese artist who had once come to dinner—that would be quite plausible.”

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