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“Ah!” He knew whom she meant: the man with whom she had flirted in California and whom a strange chance had led to her hotel in Paris. He would have withdrawn his arm if she had not held it.“Little Desire, I never thought you were bad and heartless—never for one moment.”“But why this dress?” canada goose price “You don’t mind if I close my eyes, Meester Deek? I’m really tired.”“Of course not,” said Teddy, with winning frankness.

It was intoxicating—transforming. It was as though these stone-palaces of Fifth Avenue fell back, disclosing magic woodlands—woodlands such as his father painted through whose shadows pale figures glided. People on the pavement were lovers, going to meetings which memory would make sacred. Like Arcady springing out to meet him, the Park swam into sight, tree-tufted, lagooned, embowered, canopied with the peacock-blue and saffron of the sunset.Suddenly she snatched it from him and tossed it into the river. He watched it fall; then stared at her quietly. Like a naughty child, appalled by her own impishness, she returned his stare.In his eagerness not to disappoint her, he had reached the Grand Central a quarter of an hour too early. He was standing before the board on which the arriving trains are chalked up, when from behind some one touched him.“Does it?” His voice trembled. “I don’t mind how foolish I am before you. But I do wish sometimes that you’d treat me as though I wasn’t different. You’ve only called me twice by my name. You won’t dance with me, though I learnt especially for you. You won’t do all kinds of ordinary things that you’re willing to do with people who don’t count.”“I shan’t catch cold either. And if I do come out you’ll only be cross with me.”He returned to the Brevoort, but not to sleep. As he tossed restlessly in the darkness, he could hear her words of dismissal. She spoke them sorrowfully with disillusion; she spoke them mockingly; she spoke them angrily, clenching her white virago fists. It was she who ought to have said, “Thank God, there are good men.” Her mother had said that She had said, “All men are beasts, I expect” In the saying of it, she had seemed to attribute to his courting the disarming smugness of a Mr. Dak. The silver wood with its magnanimity counted for nothing. Whatever ideals he had built up for her were shattered by this haphazard brutality.“Then go and bathe.”“I’m Teddy. Where’s—where’s mother?” canada goose price “We’re getting stupid again.” Closing her eyes, she curled herself up against the cushions. Her voice was small and tired.She twisted her hands. Her face had gone white. When she spoke her voice was earnest and tired. “You force me to tell you.—I did want to see a good man—a good man who loved me. You’ll never guess why. It was to get back my self-respect That man—that man whom I led on in California, he saw us together in Paris. He misunderstood. He thought vile things. After I’d left you and joined Fluffy, I met him again and he asked me to be—— I can’t say it; but when a man like that misunderstands things about a girl——” Self-scorn consumed her. “It wasn’t only because he’d seen us together—it wasn’t only that.” Her voice sank to a bitter whisper. “I’m the daughter of a woman who was never married—he found that out; so he asked me to become his——”He assured her that it wouldn’t; so she consented to straddle his neck, clasping his forehead with her sticky little hands while he held her legs to help her keep her balance.There was a laughing dispute at the other end; then the voice which he had heard at first spoke again:In the weeks that followed a dangerous comradeship sprang up between them; dangerous because of its quiet confidence, which seemed to deny the existence of passion. Her total ignoring of the fact of sex made any reference to it seem vulgar; yet everything that she did, from the itinerant beauty-patch to the graceful frailty of her dress, was a silent and provocative acknowledgment that sex was omnipresent.He was thinking quickly.They sat closely, with locked hands.“Tell me,” he urged gravely; “I’ll do anything.”Encircling the backs of chairs were skeins of wool of various colors; the balls, which had been wound from them, had rolled across the floor and come to rest in a tangle against the fender. In the window, lending a touch of romance, stood a gilded harp, through whose strings shone the cold pale light of the December afternoon. In the grate a scarlet fire crackled; perched upon it, like a long-necked bird, was a kettle with a prodigiously long spout. It sang cheerfully and blew out white clouds of steam which filled the room with the pungent fragrance of eucalyptus.“Not that. Truly not that” She paused and drew a long breath, like a diver getting ready for a deep plunge. “It was because I was afraid that, if I stopped longer, we might have to marry. A girl may be cold—she mayn’t even love a man, but if she trifles too long with his affections, she herself sometimes catches fire. That was how my mother—with my father.”“I don’t know her. It wasn’t very thoughtful of her to give you such short notice.”The bird-catcher was struggling into a sitting position. He glared evilly at the children. “You just wait till I get yer,” he muttered. “Skin yer, that’s wot I’ll do. Boil yer. Tear every——” canada goose price He laughed. “I wonder whether you will—whether you’ll care.” canada goose price She seated herself at the piano, looking back across her shoulder and playing while she spoke, as though her hands were a separate personality. canada goose price “What are you thinking, dearest?”“I shouldn’t mind anything.”“And you’re still beautiful.”Her gray eyes brimmed over. “You don’t. You’re lying. I’ve never lied to you—with all my faults I’ve never done that.”

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They were fencing with their problem, discussing it in parables of other people’s lives.At that moment Desire entered and slipped into the vacant chair beside him. All through the meal as the atmosphere brightened, she sat silent. She seemed to be doing her best not to notice that he was there.“I can see what it would be without her,” he said dully.He repeated his question in French.She sat with her hand against her throat, gazing at him smilingly.

The landlady approached him with a severe expression. “She sent word for me to tell you she’d be down directly. These—these are strange goings-on. Dangerous vagaries, I call them. It’s none of my business—me not being your mother nor related; but I do hope you know what you’re doing, young gentleman.”He had a curious feeling of impropriety in discussing Desire with her mother. It was a stupid feeling to have just because, long ago, he had given Vashti his boyish affection. Yet instinctively he felt that he might rouse her jealousy if he laid too much stress on his change of homage. Was that why she was evading him? How much did she know of what had happened? He began to skirmish for information.“Unless?” she whispered.Ruddy winked knowingly. He was enjoying the mystery, and prolonged the ecstasy of suspense. Pulling a packet of Wild Woodbines from his pocket, he lit one and offered one to Teddy; but Teddy shook his head.Mr. Dak beamed with pride. He seemed to be claiming all the credit for the stillness and whiteness, and most especially for the low-roofed farmhouse, with its elms and barns, and its plume of blue smoke curling up hospitably into the frosted silence. He was pathetically eager to be thanked. He looked more like a maiden-aunt than ever.“A doll’s house of the gods,” he said.“Will you promise to accept it?”It was Ruddy who invented one of their most exciting games, Enemies or Friends. This consisted in picking out some inoffensive boy from among their school-fellows and overwhelming him with flatteries. He was made the recipient of presents and invited to tea on half-holidays, till his suspicions of evil intentions were quite laid to rest. Then one afternoon, when school was over, he was lured into Orchid Lodge to look at the pigeons. Once within the garden walls, Orchid Lodge became a brigand’s castle, the boy a captive, and Ruddy and Teddy his captors. The boy was locked up in the tool-shed for an hour and made to promise by the most fearful threats not to divulge to his mother what had delayed him. Intended victims of this game knew quite well what fate was in store for them; a rumor of the brigands’ perfidy had leaked out. The chief sport in its playing lay in the Machiavellian methods employed to persuade the latest favorite that, whatever had happened to his predecessors, he was the great exception, beloved only for himself.“I promise.”A man came strolling along the terrace. He was in gray flannels, wore a straw hat and was swinging a cane jauntily. He had a distinct waist-line and humorous blue eyes. He was the kind of man who keeps a valet.The right to clasp her without repulse, which the silver wood had granted him, had brought him to this second stage in his journey—the urgent longing to be loved. Then, like a coarse cynicism, discovering in all love’s loyalties an unsuspected foulness, had come the scene which he had witnessed in her presence. It had struck the barbaric note, stripping of conventional pretenses the motives which underlie all passion. It had revealed to him the direction of impulses which he himself possessed. Mr. Dak was no worse than any other man, if only the other man were tantalized sufficiently. Vashti had starved him too much and relied too much on his awe of her. She was a lion-tamer who had grown reckless through immunity; the beast had taken her unaware. Probably Mr. Dak was as surprised as herself.She considered poutingly whether she would grant the favor.Teddy and Ruddy were seated on the steps. At the sound of her gasping cry, they turned to gaze into the shabby comfort of the room. She stood tiptoeing against him, clinging to his hand and scanning his face with her faded eyes. Her gray hair straggled across her wrinkled forehead; her lips trembled. Her weary, worn-out, kindly appearance made her strangely pathetic in the presence of his plump self-assertiveness.The situation was too absurd to argue over. Before he left, he gave his watch and money into her keeping. He derived a queer sensation from seeing her pop them into her vanity-case. That was just the matter-of-fact way in which she’d do it if they were married. canada goose prices toronto “Old stupid.”“Vashti.” She repeated the word. canada goose prices toronto Did she say it out of sweet revenge? It was as though she had told him, “I keep my friendships in separate watertight compartments. To-day it’s your turn to be taken but. To-morrow I shall lock you away and remember some one else.” It hurt, this polite intimation of his standing. He wanted to be everything to her—to feel all that she felt, to know her as his very self. To him she was his entire life. And she—she was satisfied to term herself his guest. canada goose prices toronto She held out her hand and let it linger in his clasp. Other revellers, returning from theatres and dinners, passed them. For the first time that day she didn’t seem to care who guessed that he loved her.“She! Ah, I understand. Poor old boy, never mind.” canada goose prices toronto canada goose prices toronto The riot of relief in his voice explained his undemonstrativeness. Tears sprang into her eyes. How she had misjudged him! She rolled her head luxuriously from side to side. “You funny boy—die! How could I, when you’d be left?”He shook his head. “After all that’s happened, after all the loneliness and all the silence—— My dear, I don’t know what’s the matter with me; I think you’ve killed something. I’m not trying to be unkind.”“You’re crushing me!” Her breath came stifled and sobbing.Away she fled, light as pollen, dancing in her steps in unconscious rhythm with the unseen orchestra. He caught her up where the flash of waves, rising and falling, burst upon them in tumultuous glory. She was leaning back, clutching at the brim of her hat, while the eager wind dragged at her skirt like a child entreating her to join in its frolic. She laid her hand on his arm.She had forgotten to put her address. He pulled out his watch. Five minutes past eight! He had no time to consult railway-guides—no time even to pack. All he knew was that the boat-train left Charing-Cross for Dover in less than an hour; he could just catch it Returning to his bedroom, he gathered together what cash he could find In three minutes he was in the hall again.“What are you thinking, dearest?”“She’s a notorious character,” Mrs. Sheerug said firmly. “Alonzo, you’ll have nothing to do with her.”“Has it?” She glanced round the room dreamily, making confidences impossible by her lack of enthusiasm.

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He sat back from her to take in the effect. She drew him near again. “It sounds beautiful; but I don’t quite see all of it yet.”She made no answer. canada goose price in canada Her half-closed eyes mocked him with their old impishness. “But you mustn’t hold me like that. It isn’t done in the best families—not in public, anyway—even by the oldest friends.”

Sarie folded her hands beneath her apron. “She’s in the garden, as she always is, Joseph.”He couldn’t blame her if other men had loved her first; but he wished they hadn’t. The knowledge had come as a shock.She pursed her lips. “It would. Marriage may be very nice, but it doesn’t do to let people know you too well. And then, there’s another reason: Mrs. Sheerug’s a dear, but she doesn’t like my mother.”“Because we’re like that—you and I. We let a woman who’s as unpossessable as a landscape, become a destructive habit with us. You’re not very old yet, but you’ll find out that there are women in the world who can never be possessed. There’s only one thing to do when you meet one—run away before she becomes a habit.”He crouched above the wheel, clutching it tightly, fearing what he might do with his hands. Her casual cheerfulness stifled his words. It was like a blow across his lips. What he had intended to say was so serious. His eyes felt hot. He had a vision of himself as a wild unkempt being, almost primeval, who struggled and panted. He was filled with a sickening sense of self-despising and dreaded lest at any moment he might hear her laughing.“That’s the hot water bottles,” she said. “If you don’t perspire soon you must have some more medicine.”It was Vashti who had moved. She bent over him, “I’m going.” He stretched out his arms, but they failed to reach her. At the door Mrs. Sheerug stood and stayed her. Vashti halted, very proud and sweet. “What is it? You said I wasn’t safe. You can tell Hal he’s free—I won’t trouble him.”His one consolation was in writing to her—that made her seem nearer. He poured out his heart hour after hour, in unconsidered, fiery phrases. The journal which he kept for her on the voyage was less a journal of contemporary doings than of rememberings. It was a history of all their intercourse, stretching back from the scarf fluttered on the dock to the far-off, cloistral days of childhood. He believed that in the writing of it he became telepathic; messages seemed to reach him from her. He heard her speaking so distinctly that at times he would drop his pen and glance across his shoulder: “Meester Deek! Meester Deek!” He noted down the hours when the phenomenon occurred, begging her to tell him whether at these hours she had been thinking of him. Like a refrain, to which the music was forever returning, “I shall wait for you always—always,” he wrote.“Were you?”Some one stirred behind them. In the middle of the room Desire was standing. Her hands were clasped against her breast as though she held a bird. Through the windows the purity of the snow-covered country formed a dazzling background for her head and shoulders. The gold in the bronze of her hair glistened. She might have been posing for a realist painting of the immaculate conception. There was a misty, pained looked in the grayness of her eyes—an eloquence of yearning.“Who are you? What is it?” he whispered.She cocked her head on one side like a knowing little bird. canada goose price in canada “Poor you! There’s nothing to forgive.” It was a little child talking. Making bars of her fingers, she peered out at him. “If I let you stay, will you promise not to blame me—never to think I’ve led you on when—when I don’t marry you?”The conductor called from the top of the steps and pointed to an apartment-house. While his name was being telephoned up, he took in his surroundings. All this was familiar to her. He compared it with Eden Row, and was filled with hesitations. Everywhere his eye detected luxury. She might be wealthy. He had never thought of that; he had only thought of what he could give her. Their ways of life must be utterly divergent. What had he to offer? And he had come to America to marry her!At the barrier they met with an unexpected setback; the gateman refused to let him see her off. “Not allowed. You ought to have a pass.” canada goose price in canada It came from outside in the darkness, where trees knelt beneath the sky like camels. Sometimes it seemed very far away, and sometimes just beneath his window. It made him think of faeries dancing by moonlight It was like the golden hair of the Princess Lettice lowered from her casement to her lover. It was like the silver feet of laughter twinkling up a Beanstalk ladder to the stars. It was like spread wings, swooping and drifting over a faery-land of castellated tree-tops. It grew infinitely distant. He strained his ears; it was almost lost It kept calling and calling to his heart. canada goose price in canada “And that’s literature,” Jimmie Boy told them. “How about your penny dreadfuls now?”He drove them out like a flock of sheep, slamming the door contemptuously behind him. canada goose price in canada CHAPTER XXIV—DUKE NINEVEH ENTERS“Why, Ruddy,” gasped Teddy, “where did you spring from?”His clasp on her hand tightened. “But now?”“Ashamed of you!” he laughed desperately. “What is there to tell? If we were engaged———- But so long as we’re not, they wouldn’t understand. I’m waiting till I can tell them that.”She took his face between her hands. “You must go. If you don’t, it’ll be all the same. You’ve told me things, too. I’m hindering your work. After what you’ve told me, I would refuse to see you if you stayed. Perhaps it’s only for a little while. I may marry you some day. Who knows? And I wouldn’t want your mother to hate me.”“I am.” She caught her breath and gazed at him wonderingly. “How foolish of you! That’s why we’ve driven all night, and——”“I do.”

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The Princess.She threw herself back in the seat a little contemptuously. “It’s nonsense to discuss it. I’d like to know what makes you say it.”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.“You rather like me?”

They ran down to the landing and caught a steamer setting out for S猫vres. From S猫vres they took a tram to Versailles. It was late in the afternoon when they got back to Paris with scarcely sufficient time to dine and pack.He paused rigid, as though he had been stabbed; then went slowly back to his old position before the fire.But she didn’t say it. Her hand still rested on his arm and the gold-green leaves of the park fluttered. canada goose price canada She eyed him cloudily, still persuaded that it was. “Are you saying that because of what I told you about going to California? I thought you were too big and splendid to return tit for tat.”“Dear of you to say so! Still beautiful! In a way, yes. But,” she laughed scornfully, “with an effort—with such an effort. How I’d love to see myself the way I was when your father painted me. A garden enclosed, he called me, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. You see, I remember. It was my remoteness that attracted then. All the men were at my feet, even your father. Oh, yes, he was; your mother knew it. Common men in the street, and little boys like you, and—and poor old Hal—they’d do anything for me if I raised an eyelash.” canada goose price canada canada goose price canada Simon Freelevy shouldered his way into the room. He was a stout, short man with a bald, shiny head. His hurry had made him perspire; he was breathing heavily.Fear is a form of loneliness; it was Ruddy who cured Teddy of that.“Coming. I have a visitor.”“Not your fault,” she laughed. “You’d have done it often and often, if I’d allowed you. I guess you wish it was always snowing.”“In the Rue St. Honor茅 at The Oxford and Cambridge; close by there are heaps of other hotels. You can easily find a good one.”“Oh, you beautiful girl,The right to clasp her without repulse, which the silver wood had granted him, had brought him to this second stage in his journey—the urgent longing to be loved. Then, like a coarse cynicism, discovering in all love’s loyalties an unsuspected foulness, had come the scene which he had witnessed in her presence. It had struck the barbaric note, stripping of conventional pretenses the motives which underlie all passion. It had revealed to him the direction of impulses which he himself possessed. Mr. Dak was no worse than any other man, if only the other man were tantalized sufficiently. Vashti had starved him too much and relied too much on his awe of her. She was a lion-tamer who had grown reckless through immunity; the beast had taken her unaware. Probably Mr. Dak was as surprised as herself.She interrupted. “Oh, no! Ladies don’t have to. When they want babies, they speak to God about it. I know because—— Is your mother married?”She leant across him to do it, her shoulder resting against his arm. The wind of their going fluttered her hair against his cheek. For a moment he was possessed with a mad longing to crush her to him.The things that Horace had been saying were true—he knew it; but if his love could reach her imagination, they would prove them false together. What was the good of love if it couldn’t do that? Probably Hal had thought to do the same for Vashti, and Horace for Fluffy—all the men who had loved in vain had promised themselves to do just that; but they hadn’t loved with sufficient obstinacy—with sufficient courage. canada goose price canada It was only after she had vanished that he asked himself what she had meant, “You did get out quickly.” At the last moment was she going to have kissed him, or to have given him her lips to kiss? And, “The nicest time we’ve ever had”—did she know that he had been trembling to ask her to marry him? canada goose price canada CHAPTER IV—THE ROUSING OF THE GIANT“I’m not crying,” she panted brokenly. “I’m not glad, and I’m not sorry. No one ever kissed me like that.—Oh, please don’t touch me. I ought to send you away forever.”“It doesn’t matter.”“It isn’t tit for tat I booked this afternoon, before I knew about California.”“Don’t, please. There’s to be no lowering of blinds—not yet.”“In spite of everything,” she whispered, “would you still marry me?”He slowed down the engine. His face had gone white beneath its tan. They were both stirred; they seemed to listen to the beating of each other’s heart “Give me another chance,” he urged unsteadily.Teddy’s shocked appearance surpassed her expectations. Gapping her hands, she rose into a kneeling position and mocked him. “Teddy doesn’t like that. He doesn’t like my loving Sir Launcelot best. And I know why. It’s because he’s a King Arthur himself.”Through the gayety of the sabbath morning they made their way to Cook’s. While purchasing their tickets they almost came to words. He insisted that she would need a berth for the journey; she insisted that she wouldn’t.“Come to me in my dreams and thenHe brushed his face against her carls. “It isn’t that. It’s not that I’m sulky.” Her hands fluttered to his lips that he might kiss them. “It’s—it’s only that I want you, and I’m afraid I may lose you.”For a day he was half-minded to go to her. It was no longer a question, of whether she wanted him, but of whether he could live without her. He answered in a fit of jealousy and self-scorn, “I wish I had your faculty for happiness. I hope your good times are lasting.” And then the fatal phrase, “I’m afraid you’re one of those lucky persons who feel nothing very deeply.”She gazed down demurely at her folded hands. “I once knew a girl; she didn’t care a straw for her man. He waited for her for five years always hoping, and she made all kinds of cruel jokes about him. Then one night—she didn’t know how it happened—all the ice broke and she felt that she wanted him most awfully. They were alone. Suddenly, without warning and without being asked, she kissed him and put her arms about his neck—— Can you guess what he did? You’re a man. You ought to know.”He scrawled a postscript, “By the way, yesterday I met Vashti”; then sealed the envelope. By the time an inquiry could be returned, he would know everything. He would know for certain whether Desire loved him. He pulled out his watch. A few minutes past ten! To keep his nerves quiet he made a pretense at working. He would outline the first of his series of articles.“I am.”