The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth

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Redwood's two days 1.

So soon as Caterham knew the moment for grasping his nettle had come, he took the law into his own hands and sent to arrest Cossar and Redwood.

Redwood was there for the taking. He had been undergoing an operation in the side, and the doctors had kept all disturbing things from him until his convalescence was assured. Now they had released him. He was just out of bed, sitting in a fire-warmed room, with a heap of newspapers about him, reading for the first time of the agitation that had swept the country into the hands of Caterham, and of the trouble that was darkening over the Princess and his son. It was in the morning of the day when young Caddies died, and when the policeman tried to stop young Redwood on his way to the Princess. The latest newspapers Redwood had did but vaguely prefigure these imminent things. He was re-reading these first adumbrations of disaster with a sinking heart, reading the shadow of death more and more perceptibly into them, reading to occupy his mind until further news should come. When the officers followed the servant into his room, he looked up eagerly.

“I thought it was an early evening paper,” he said. Then standing up, and with a swift change of manner: “What’s this?”

After that Redwood had no news of anything for two days.

They had come with a vehicle to take him away, but when it became evident that he was ill, it was decided to leave him for a day or so until he could be safely removed, and his house was taken over by the police and converted into a temporary prison. It was the same house in winch Giant Redwood had been born and in which Herakleophorbia had for the first time been given to a human being, and Redwood had now been a widower and had lived alone in it eight years.

He had become an iron-grey man, with a little pointed grey beard and still active brown eyes. He was slender and soft-voiced, as he had ever been, but his features had now that indefinable quality that comes of brooding over mighty things. To the arresting officer his appearance was in impressive contrast to the enormity of his offences. “Here’s this feller,” said the officer in command, to his next subordinate, “has done his level best to bust up everything, and ’e’s got a face like a quiet country gentleman; and here’s Judge Hangbrow keepin’ everything nice and in order for every one, and ’e’s got a ’ead like a ’og. Then their manners! One all consideration and the other snort and grunt. Which just shows you, doesn’t it, that appearances aren’t to be gone upon, whatever else you do.”

But his praise of Redwood’s consideration was presently dashed. The officers found him troublesome at first until they had made it clear that it was useless for him to ask questions or beg for papers. They made a sort of inspection of his study indeed, and cleared away even the papers he had. Redwood’s voice was high and expostulatory. “But don’t you see,” he said over and over again, it’s my Son, my only Son, that is in this trouble. It isn’t the Food I care for, but my Son.”

“I wish indeed I could tell you, Sir,” said the officer. “But our orders are strict.”

“Who gave the orders?” cried Redwood.

“Ah! that, Sir—– ” said the officer, and moved towards the door… .

“’E’s going up and down ’is room,” said the second officer, when his superior came down. “That’s all right. He’ll walk it off a bit.”

“I hope ’e will,” said the chief officer. “The fact is I didn’t see it in that light before, but this here Giant what’s been going on with the Princess, you know, is this man’s son.”

The two regarded one another and the third policeman for a space.

“Then it is a bit rough on him,” the third policeman said.

It became evident that Redwood had still imperfectly apprehended the fact that an iron curtain had dropped between him and the outer world. They heard him go to the door, try the handle and rattle the lock, and then the voice of the officer who was stationed on the landing telling him it was no good to do that. Then afterwards they heard him at the windows and saw the men outside looking up. “It’s no good that way,” said the second officer. Then Redwood began upon the bell. The senior officer went up and explained very patiently that it could do no good to ring the bell like that, and if it was rung for nothing now it might have to be disregarded presently when he had need of something. “Any reasonable attendance, Sir,” the officer said. “But if you ring it just by way of protest we shall be obliged, Sir, to disconnect.”

The last word the officer heard was Redwood’s high-pitched, “But at least you might tell me if my Son— ”

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