A large room, with an upright harpsichord in one corner. A young lady was playing the instrument, whose face was heavily carved with cherubs and fruit. The young lady played a series of English folksongs and then slipped into Bach’s Passacaglia in C minor. The notes floated out of the window. Outside the window, parkland stretched away to parterres and ha-has. A small herd of sheep grazed the close grass and the afternoon wore on to a gold that drifted into the room. The rich Norfolk and Berkshire syllables were tinged with a gold edge.

  The pleasure of such a life, spacious, decent, civilized, struck the young man in the corner with great force. Above all, the opportunities afforded by leisure made him almost envious. He hadn’t thought of it before with any degree of thoroughness, but now he realized, that those three men with their high black boots, their waistcoats and dignity need never work in their entire lives. It seemed the right way to live. He was beginning to enjoy the fact that now, as the eldest son, he need never do a stroke of work for his entire life. He began to take an interest in the conversation, and he leaned forward, so a shaft of light struck right across his brow..