As a man of the world, Norman Rae, at thirty-five, was well aware that all things which have a beginning must also have an end. His perception of this truth, however, had never yet impelled him to hurry towards a trouble he could dimly foresee. In previous affairs his experience had been that if some initiative were required for a commencement, the end could be safely left to come of its own volition. A man had no need to think about it, to prepare, or to arrange; he had only to wait for its arrival, maintaining the while a decent assumption of stoic fortitude. Life, he had remarked, seldom rose to the dramatic climax offered, as a matter of course, in works of fiction and on the stage. In the actual world a climax was a rarity; situations developed, they became more interesting and less so, sometimes they grew tiresome, but in the end they always petered out.