“I’m not any other girl.” And then, “We’re alone. I’ve got to be wise for both of us.”In a shadowed spot, overlooking the canal, he halted the car. He must think matters out—must get a grip on himself before he went further. Water-carts were going up and down. Well-groomed men were walking briskly through the park on their way to business. Boys and girls on bicycles passed him, going out by way of Hampstead for a day in the country. The absolute normality of life, its level orderliness, thrust itself upon him. He looked at the sedate rows of houses, showing up substantially behind sun-drenched branches. He saw their window-boxes, their whitened doorsteps, their general appearance of permanency. The men who lived in those houses wouldn’t say to a girl, “I love you,” in the first half-dozen hours of acquaintance. But neither would the girls say to a seven-hour-old lover, “Come to America”; they wouldn’t even say, “Run down to Southend,” for fear of being thought forward.They strolled out into the evening redness and sat beside the boys on the steps. Sparrows were rustling in the ivy. The drone of London, like a mill-wheel turning, came to them across the walls. In the garden there was a sense of rest Mr. Sheerug’s portly glory looked out of place and disturbing in its old-fashioned quiet He must have felt that, for he stood up and removed his frock-coat, loosened his waistcoat buttons, and sat down in his shirt-sleeves. He looked less like Mr. Sheerug, the conqueror, who had eaten the canary, and more like the pigeon-flying Mr. Sheerug now.A market-cart rumbled across the bridge, mountain-high with vegetables. When the sound of its going had died out, she moved closer.Her naive frankness in not attempting to hide her vanity, sent a wave of affection tingling through him. It was as though by one foolish act she had entrusted him with the key to her character—her unabashed truthfulness.
“I’ll wait.” He smiled confidently.Her eyes mocked his trouble with tenderness. “That wasn’t what I meant.”She cut him short. “Feeding-time. You ask too many questions.”At that moment the arrival-platform of the Bay State Limited was announced; they drifted away at the tail of the crowd towards the barrier. Teddy wanted to hurry; his companion saw it. “Heaps of time,” he laughed. “If I know anything about them, they’ll be out last.”It happened in a comfortable room on the ground floor, looking out into the garden. All afternoon he had been puzzling over what Harriet had told him. Mrs. Sheerug sat by the fire knitting; he dared not question her.Hal rose to his feet and dusted his knees. He glanced meaningly from Teddy to Vashti. “Is this wise?”It was done. The great exhilaration was ended. Tomorrow, when he awoke, it would be no good saying, “I shall see her again in three hours.” At night he would gain nothing by going to sleep quickly; the new day when it came would bring him nothing. The studio without her would seem empty and dull. If only he had been fortified by the possession of five pounds, he would have boldly reminded her of her promise. Six-and-sixpence was the sum total of his wealth; it was hidden away in an old cigar box which he had labeled MARRIAGE. If a husband didn’t have at least five pounds, his wife would have to go out charing. He couldn’t imagine Vashti doing that.So he told her: told her how she had pained him in England by her silence; told her what her words “Come to America” had implied; described to her the expectations with which he had set sail; the disappointment when on landing he had found that she was absent; and then the growing heartache that had come to him while she trifled with him. He spared her nothing. “And you act as if my loving bored you,” he said; “and yet, if I take you at your word, you’re petulant May I speak about money now? I know how you hate me to talk of it—— And you won’t misunderstand?”“Just this once.”He drew up sharply. Wailing music came to him, made by instruments that he had never heard before. It rose into a clamor and sank away sobbing. He tried to follow it, but it seemed to be everywhere and nowhere all in the same moment It lost itself in the echoing of overhanging walls. At last, turning down a passage, he traced it to a barnlike building. As he got there the doors were flung wide and people came pouring out.“Why?”“And yet,” he said, “it was partly that.”Desire laughed softly. “I haven’t—not even in fun.” Then quickly, to prevent what he was on the point of saying, “I would have liked to have known you, Meester Deek, when you were quite, quite little. You’d never guess what I and my father talk about.” canada goose parka cheap canada goose parka cheap “Sweetly ungrateful,” Vashti had called her; “she feels far more than she’ll ever express—goes out of her way to make people misunderstand her.” And she’d added: “It’s because—— Can’t you guess? She’s afraid to love too much. Her mother got hurt.”His arm slipped from her shoulder. She stood up and reentered the window. Before she vanished, she came back and patted him kindly. “You won’t, Alonzo. You know you won’t.”Teddy flushed. He had wanted to do it himself, but something had restrained him. Secretly he admired Ruddy’s boldness. “Don’t do that,” he whispered.She was paying for it now when she could see no difference between his love and Mr. Dak’s—between honor and mere passion. “All men are beasts, I expect.” That was the conclusion at which she had arrived. She was incapable of high beliefs at twenty!His father frowned in mock displeasure. “For a boy of ideas and the son of an artist you’re surprisingly modest. Now if you were Jane I could understand it. Love would always put on trousers when he went to visit her. But you’re Dearie’s son. I’m disappointed in you, Teddy; you really ought to know more about love.” canada goose parka cheap canada goose parka cheap The distinguished looking person had laid aside his paper.“That’s all. But you see, I’ve got nothing now except what I earn. And when my mind’s distracted—— It’s—— You don’t mind my saying it, do you? It’s waiting for you that’s done it. My power seems gone. If only I were sure of you and that you’d be to me always as you are now, I’d be strong to do anything.”Mrs. Sheerug smiled at him gratefully. “Yes, and just a little careless. I ran away with him because he was kind and comfy, and because he needed taking care of more than any man I ever met. He’s cost me more mothering than any child I ever——”They showed their need of each other in a thousand ways which were more eloquent than words. Every morning at ten promptly—ten being her hour for rising—he phoned her. Sometimes he found her at Vashti’s apartment, sometimes at Fluffy’s; at Fluffy’s there were frequently sleepy sounds which told him that she was answering him from bed. This morning conversation grew to be a habit on which they both depended. canada goose parka cheap He reached Maidenhead and came to the bridge—came to the river winding like a silver pathway between nose-gays of gayly painted houseboats.