The focus returns initially to the speaker who remains in his position on the platform. We learn that in spite of his awareness of the girl attempting to turn her head away from him, he continues his ‘scrutiny with unmitigated pleasure’ (line 13). The word ‘scrutiny’ is important here as it suggests that the speaker’s gaze has an interrogative nature, which may be perceived as unwelcome by the person being subjected to this intense scrutiny. It is interesting that the speaker describes his time looking at the girl as pleasurable, indicating that he feels no remorse or guilt for staring so openly at someone else while he is married. For her part, the girl continues to appear reluctant to engage with the speaker and ‘would not / glance at me in the silence’ (lines 14–5). Nevertheless, the speaker asserts that she is aware of the pleasure he is deriving from watching her and we might interpret her determination to avoid his gaze as an acknowledgement of the significance of this moment. It is unclear if this is a projection, but the first-person perspective lends weight to the man’s assertion.
The presence of the ‘clock’, mentioned in the first line of the stanza, is also important here, reminding us that there is a time limit on this encounter. Time is fleeting and the fact that the speaker stands under the clock implies that time is, quite literally, hanging over him and lending a finite nature to the encounter. It also builds on the earlier statement that the speaker had arrived too early for the train, reminding the reader that had he not arrived at the wrong time then he would never have been there when this train arrived and would not have seen the girl at all. This is the shortest stanza in the poem (which has moved from six, to five and then four lines, perhaps indicating a slowing of activity in this moment).
Once again we are reminded that this is ‘not Adlestrop’, a reference which both connects to Thomas’s poem and rejects it by reminding us that this unexpected moment has yielded a very different outcome to the unscheduled stop in Thomas’s poem. In Thomas’s poem the speaker uses the silences to listen to birdsong and enjoy his peaceful surroundings; in Abse’s poem the ‘silence’ (line 15) is a loaded one, filled with the tension of the speaker’s illicit gaze.