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“Forgive me, my darling. You couldn’t send me away. I shall never leave you.” goose parka He found her in the front-room. She had unwrapped a pot of azaleas and was clearing a space to set it on the table.She made the journey and waited for him to follow her example. He came reluctantly, but not all the way; there was still a gap between them. goose parka Finality was in the air. Horace’s example had startled him into facing up to facts; perhaps it had done the same for her. He felt that this was the psychologic crisis to which all his courtship had been leading. She cared for him, or she wouldn’t have accepted his present. Knowing her as he did, the very ungraciousness of her acceptance was a proof to him of how much she cared. And now this new happening I It had darted swiftly across their insecurity as the shadow of nemesis approaching. To-night her lips must give him his answer. She had said: “When I kiss you, Meester Deek, without your asking, you’ll know then.” They could drag on no longer. It wasn’t honorable to her, to himself, to his parents—it wasn’t fair to any of them. Like a stave of music her words sang in his memory, “And we’re about the right height, aren’t we?”

“You’ve come by yourself?” goose parka “And you, Princess?”A week of silence, and then—— It was eight in the evening. He was at the top of the house in his bedroom-study—the room in which he had woven so many gold optimisms. Down the blue oblong of sky, framed by his window, the red billiard-ball of the sun rolled smoothly, bound for the pocket of night.She frowned. “And I was in California, having such good times.”He took the first room that was offered him, and regained his place beside her. All the time he had been gone, he had been haunted by the dread that she might drive off without him.The woman lay still, gazing at him with adoring eyes. He cared—he was trying not to cry. She never quite knew what went on inside his head—never quite knew how to take him. When others would have said most, he was most silent He was noisy as a child over the little things of life. He did everything differently from other men. It was a proof of his genius. goose parka When they came to the window, she opened her bag and handed him the money.As he drove forward the blade slipped and jabbed Mr. Hughes’s leg. Mr. Hughes sat down with a howl and drew up his trousers to inspect the damage. When the fat man had examined the scratch and pronounced it not serious, he proposed a rest and produced a pipe. “Nice smoke,” he said, “is more comforting than any woman, only I wish I’d known it before I married.” Then he became aware that he alone was smoking.“But you don’t—you wouldn’t.”“Yes. I’ve nothing to keep me in America; I had nothing to bring me over except you. If I stay here and don’t give my people an explanation, they’ll begin to wonder. It won’t be playing the game. So if you don’t care——”But he lay and remembered. Vashti had asked him to marry her. Perhaps she had not meant it. How long would it take to become a man? Did little boys ever marry grown ladies?Suddenly she sat up. “All from you, and I haven’t thanked you yet!”No answer.He recalled what the knowledge of Hal’s sin had done for him. Perhaps it had done the same for her. It had made him see sin everywhere; marriage itself had seemed impurity—all things had been polluted until into the dusk of the studio his mother had entered. He could hear himself whispering, “Things like that make a boy frightened, mother, when—when they’re first told to him.” It was after that that he had determined to make Desire in his life what the Holy Grail had been in Sir Galahad’s.That was all. Whatever she had guessed, she asked no questions. Had they all agreed to a kindly conspiracy of silence?He met Desire’s eyes. “We are young. We are young,” they said. “Why won’t they leave us to ourselves?”“That’s better. I’m rested. You are good.” goose parka “If I felt like it.”“I, too, was trying to be decent.” He covered her hand. “How is it? I counted so much on this—this experiment, or whatever you call it. We’re not getting on very well.”And then—he didn’t like to own it—he felt piqued by her lack of curiosity. She had taken him so quietly for granted. She hadn’t asked who he was, or why he, of all men, had been sent to her rescue. Any man would have done, provided he had had a car. It was A Man with A Car that she had wanted. When the emergency was ended and he had served his purpose, she would dismiss him with a polite “Thank you,” and put him out of her memory. Thistledown—that was what she was.“Maybe.”