Text referring to the print (Old Man) in the book, “An Image of the Truth”.
A brother and sister are sitting in a garden, on a summer evening. George is twenty-five, Mary is thirty-five, George is describing a dream he had of their father (Henry) lying in bed frightened and confused while their Mother (Margaret) was standing by a fire-place pouring something out of a bottle into a blue medicine-glass.
Father was holding me tight, and trembling and trying to say something; but I couldn’t somehow take much notice of him; I could only look at Mother. She came towards us with the glass in her hand. Her face was absolutely set and calm. Devilish. Can you imagine Mother’s face gone devilish? Then Father began to scream again: “No, don’t, no, no, Margaret; I won’t – I won’t any more – no, no.” He tried to push away the glass with his shaky hands. It was just like a child refusing its medicine. Only so horrible.
Then Mother said quietly: “Hold his hands, George.” I couldn’t have dreamt of disobeying. I took his poor wrists and held them. He was still screaming and spluttering, but she pushed him gently back till his head was on the pillow, and put the glass to his lips. He shut his mouth and turned his head sideways. And she said: “It’s no use, you know, Henry. Open your mouth.” And he opened his mouth and she put the glass to it and he spluttered and choked, but one great gulp went down.
She left him and went back to the washstand; and he began to scream again: “George, George, your mother … she …” and then he suddenly choked and fell over sideways and was dead, with his head on the edge of the bed and his mouth open. And Mother came and looked at him, and said very quietly, “He’s dead, George,” and she went round to the other side of the bed, and took off her dressing-gown and lay down, and seemed to fall asleep at once.