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She scarcely knew whether she loved or hated him, yet she held out her arms to him languorously. For a moment he hesitated. Then he hurried past her. As his hand was on the door, he heard a thud. She had fallen to her knees beside the couch in the sunlight Her face was buried in her hands.“You rather like me?”“I wouldn’t dare to trust myself so much with any other man,” she told him. canada goose sale womens

“Any message?”“You ought to go. I’m—I’m glad you’re not going.”“They’re different.” canada goose sale womens “Gladly.”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.Then the cloud of his depression lifted. The truth came home to him in a flash: all these complaints and this unhappiness were proofs positive that at last he was in love. The splendor of the thought thrilled him—in love. The curtain had gone up. His long period of lonely waiting was ended. For him the greatest drama that two souls can stage had begun. Whither it would lead he could not guess. Everything was a blank except the present, and that was filled with an aching happiness. She was going from him. Already she was out of sight and sound; in a few hours he would be cut off from all communication with her. Yet he was happy in the knowledge that, however uncertain he might be of her, he belonged to her irrevocably. He longed to give himself to her service in complete self-surrender. His work, his ambitions, everything he was or could be, must be a gift for her. But how to make her understand this, while there was yet time?When he was leaving, she put her arms about him. “When you find her, don’t try to change her. Women long to be trusted. Be content to love.”“Wonderfully.”The pain of his loneliness was more than he could bear. There was no use in telephoning. Perhaps she had been at home all the time and had given orders that people should say she was out. Quite likely! But why? Why should she avoid him? She seemed to have been so near to loving him last night. What had she meant by telling her mother that he hated her or would hate her one day? He had said and done nothing that would hint at that The idea that he should ever hate her was absurd. Perhaps the “horrid me” had got the upper-hand—that would account for it.Seen from a distance as they approached her, she looked slight as a schoolgirl. Is was impossible to believe that she was really an old woman. She came hurrying towards them with one hand held out and the other pressed against her mouth. Not a word was said as her lost property was returned. The moment she had it, she walked to the side of the pier and gazed seawards, while both boys turned their backs. She was closing her vanity-case when she called to them.“Very.”She deliberately pinned it into place behind her ear; it hung there trembling, looking entirely natural.In the door a young man was standing—a very stolid and sensible young man. He wore oiled boots and corduroy breeches; he was coatless; his sleeves were rolled up and, despite the cold, his shirt was unbuttoned at the neck. In an anxious manner Mr. Dak was explaining to him the situation. As the others came up he was introduced as Sam; he at once began to speak of breakfast.“What is it? I can’t keep brave if you make me go through it twice.”She heard his footsteps in the passage; her eyes were watching before he entered. Her lips moved, but she thought better of it. He drew a chair to her side. “Well?”As he passed further uptown, he noticed that people walked more leisurely; men’s faces grew rarer. He had a glimpse of the Park, a green valley of coolness between the quarried, sun-dazzled crags of the metropolis. Presently he turned off to the left, down one of those tunnels hewn between apartment-houses and sacred to the morning promenades of yapping dogs—proud little useless dogs like Twinkles, led on leashes by lately-risen mistresses. Then, in a flash, he saw the Hudson, going from one great quietness to another, sweeping down to the ocean full-bosomed and maternal from its sanctuary in the hills.“You’re sorry to leave it? Why should we leave it? Let’s turn back.”Through the long summer days that followed they lived in a world of self-created magic—a world which, because they had made it, belonged wholly to themselves. Its chief delight was that they alone could see it. No one else knew that the brook was a girl and that the mountain-ash that grew beside it was her lover. The boy turned back from his dreams of manhood to meet the childhood of the little girl; it was one last glorious flash of innocence before the curtain fell But in the presence of Farmer Joseph and Sarie, and of Hal when he came to visit them, he was shy of his friendship with Desire.“She said that you were fond of her.”“I haven’t kissed you yet. I’ve only let you kiss me. Have you noticed?”He drew her face down. “My darling, my mind will never change.” canada goose sale womens His mother, Mrs. Sheerug, every one had doubted her. Even Hal doubted her now—Hal who had promised to follow her through the dark wood that few women had dared to tread. What had happened to her in the dark wood? Teddy could only guess; but because she was Desire’s mother, and still more at this moment because she was singing, he could not help but think that she was good. At last, after all these years of following, he had come up with her. Did she need his help? Was she trying to tell him? canada goose sale womens canada goose sale womens “You’re not angry with me, are you? It’s so difficult being grown up. Sooner or later every one gets angry, even Hal. But I thought that my littlest lover would be different—that, though he didn’t understand, he’d still like me and believe that I’d tried——”For a fortnight he posed as a figure of guilt and hinted darkly at suicide. But the world at fifteen is too adventurous a place for even a boy who has been in love with his niece to remain long tragic. It was on this dark secret of his unclehood, that his momentous friendship with Teddy was founded. Mrs. Sheerug approved of it; she did all that she could to encourage it. She sent him to Mr. Quickly’s school in Eden Row which Teddy attended. From that moment the boys’ great days began.“I live here,” she reminded him as he tried to touch her hand; “so let’s behave ourselves.”She nodded sadly. “Yes, it would be the way it was in New York: I’d always be only just allowing you—neither of us could bear that.—So, if I were to tell you that I admired you—admired you more than any man I ever met—and that I was willing to marry you, you wouldn’t?”But probably she wouldn’t let him stay with her. She’d have packing to do. This Fluffy person would want to carry her off and gossip about Horace—what he had said to her and what she had said to him, and how thoroughly justified she was in her treatment of him. And so—he widened his mouth bitterly—and so she would blow out of his life like thistledown. This splendid meeting, which had been the dream of his boyhood, would be wasted—cold-shouldered into oblivion by. trivialities.He could detect Fluffy’s influence, “Oh, these men!” He waited longer and longer to hear from her. Sometimes three weeks elapsed. Then from Santa Barbara she wrote, “I’m having such a gay time. Don’t you envy me? I’m riding horseback and some one is teaching me to drive a car.”“A Sir Launcelot wouldn’t have, been put off by pretense. He’d have shaken me by the shoulders. Oh, don’t look hurt. Let’s talk of something else. What d’you suppose I’ve been doing with myself?”“But I could if I were your husband.”