“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 He would have withdrawn his arm if she had not held it.“Little Desire, I never thought you were bad and heartless—never for one moment.”“But why this dress?”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.”