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It was after receiving this that he made up his mind, in preparation for her return, to learn the latest dances. He wondered where she could have gathered the impression that he was puritanical.“Did you ever hate me?” Fluffy covered his hand to insure the answer she required.“Never.”Ruddy pulled out a cigarette. “I liked her most awfully. Us’ally I don’t like girls.”On a narrow strip of paper he wrote, “We have just completed another murder.” As the train slowed down at Red Hill, he leant out of the window and tossed the pigeon up.“I know I’m not.”

CHAPTER XXIII—TEDDY AND RUDDYTeddy grabbed his shoulder fiercely. “You shan’t see her. We’ll stay just as far away as——”As they drove up Broadway Desire crouched with her cheek against the pane. She was trying to make out the hoardings on which the name of Janice Audrey was featured in large letters. While she performed her ritual at each vanishing shrine, Teddy sat unheeded.Of a sudden life became glorious—more glorious than he had ever believed possible. It commenced on the morning after he had written his letter to Hal.She wore a troubled look when he met her next morning.They pulled up in the courtyard of a hotel. By its architecture it might have been in Spain. Great palms in tubs cast heavy shadows. Somewhere nearby, but out of sight, an orchestra twanged a ragtime tune. He held her hand for one breathless moment as she alighted.“I’ll look again if you like.—Nothing.” canada goose ottawa She clutched his arm. “It’s frightening.”“Because——” and there he ended. He couldn’t speak to her of the ugliness they had seen together; she looked so girlish and innocent and fresh. It was hateful that they should share such a memory.She rested her cheek against his face. “Your mother’s expecting you. And—and we’ll meet so very soon.”“It can’t be helped,” she spoke shortly, “so there’s no use talking. I’ve got to get there, whatever happens.”Teddy couldn’t see his father’s face, but he thought he knew what was the matter. If Dearie had been there, she would have slipped her arms round the big man’s neck, calling him “Her Boy,” and would have made everything happy in a second. In her absence Teddy borrowed her comforting words—he had heard them so often. “Your work’s too good,” he said emphatically. “Every great man has been neglected.”As a compromise, Orchid Lodge was re-decorated in violent colors, and a carriage and pair waited before it. Mrs. Sheerug used her carriage for hunting up invalids that she might dose them with medicines of her own invention. She inclined to the garish in her method of dress, wearing yellow feathers and green plush, as in the old days when Jimmie Boy had dashed to the window to make sketches of her for the faery-godmother. And to him she was a faery-godmother, for she bought his pictures and insisted on having an exhibition of them at The Beauty Palace. canada goose ottawa canada goose ottawa “Not her master.” He had forgotten now that it was Fluffy they were supposed to be discussing; he spoke desperately and his voice trembled. “Women aren’t strong like men. They can’t stand alone and, unless they’re loved, they lose half their world when their beauty’s gone. You say a woman gives up her freedom, but so does a man. They both lose one kind of freedom to get another. What he wants is to be allowed to protect her, to——”The fire crackled. The kettle hummed, “Pooh, famous! Be contented. Pooh, famous! Be content.” canada goose ottawa The moon, gazing down on them, recognized him and smiled. The stars clapped their hands. Even the mountains, which had slept all day, uncrouched their knees and sat up in bed to look at them. Farmhouse windows, across the drifted whiteness, blinked wisely, speaking of home and children, and an end of journeys. Sometimes she drowsed with the swaying motion. Sometimes when he thought her drowsing, her eyes were wide.“You don’t need to agree if you don’t really think so.” She spoke petulantly, with her back toward him. “Even a plant means a lot to some people. Tom’s only an actor. He’s not a rich author to whom money means nothing.”“Of course. That was what made us all so glad, because there was something left unsaid—something secret and throbbing. It was all gone when once it had been uttered.”He wandered out into the garden where his pigeons were flying. Instinctively his steps led him to the stable. From the stalls he dragged out The Garden Enclosed, which was to have made his father famous. He gazed at it; as he gazed, the world seemed better. The world must be a happy place so long as there were women in it like that. People said that his father hadn’t succeeded; but he had by being true to what he knew to be best.“Forgive you!” His voice trembled. Had he dared, he would have slipped his arm about her; but she had huddled herself closer into her corner. “I’ll forgive you anything, if you’ll do one thing to please me.” canada goose ottawa “Oh, Duke, for once I’m not caring.”