The last chapter in the book is dominated by death and a sense of injustice. Both Sir John Clarke and Maclintick die, one of old age and the other of suicide. Moreland and Jenkins had only seen the bitter critics three days before he ended his life. His wife had left him, probably never quite recovering from the evening where Stringham showed her that there was an alternative.
As the two friends sat uncomfortable in the house that held the wreck of the man and the marriage Maclintick talked about his marriage in reasonable terms. But Jenkins identifies a deeper malaise and it is without shock, but not without disappointment, that three days later the police break in and find the critic’s body.
As a result of the death of Maclintick because of the sense of warning that his misery showed could be contained in marriage, Moreland calls of his affair with Priscilla Tolland. She opts to get engaged to Chips Lovell, an old acquaintance of Jenkins’s adding another mess to the mix of family and friendships the narrator continues to make.
Meanwhile, Sir john Clarke has died and the real interest hovers around the question of his will. Quiggin has already shown irritation that suggests he know it is not him. Indeed it turns out to be Erridge, a wealthy landowner that manages to land the money. The windfall means he will not have to sell the woods after his return from a failed campaign in Spain where he managed to irritate rather than help anyone fighting Franco.
His rather sheltered life contrasts to the real misery and pain that must have been felt by the failed writer and lowly critics Maclintick.
A review will follow shortly…