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“It’s very short.—That’s Miss Self-Reliance you’re holding, Meester Deek. I don’t know whether she likes it.” And again she said in a drowsy whisper, “I don’t know whether she likes it.”“How can I tell?” canada goose shop canada “Often thought it myself.” Mr. Hughes spoke slowly. “But—but d’you think anybody would suspect that I——?”She crouched her face in her hands. At last she became earnest “And just when I need you!”

canada goose shop canada “Do it to! Do it to! You’re making me lose my temper, which is bad for me ’ealth; that’s what you’re doing. Now, then, do what? Don’t beat about. Out with it.” canada goose shop canada “How many?” canada goose shop canada She gazed out of the window. He bent across to see her face.The little boy looked blank. If he were to tell, he would get the fat man into trouble; an aggravated murderer, living only six doors removed, would make an awkward neighbor. There was another reason why he looked blank: were he to tell his father of Mr. Sheerug’s special hobby, he would certainly be forbidden to enter Orchid Lodge, and then—why, then he might never meet Vashti. He weighed his fear against his adoration, and decided to keep silent.BOOK II—THE BOOK OF REVELATION CHAPTER I—THE ISLAND VALLEYThe 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.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?”He read the letter aloud at the breakfast table. “I’m going,” he said, “to talk it over.” canada goose shop canada CHAPTER V—THE GHOST BIRD OF ROMANCEThey gazed at each other. He wondered whether she was only playing with him—whether she had only said it that he might amuse her with a storm of protests.She shook her finger at him and stood staring across the high wall that was the foot of the bed. As she stared she kept on nodding, like the wife of a mandarin who had picked up the habit from her husband. Two fingers, spread apart, were pressed against the corners of her mouth to prevent it from widening to a smile.She squeezed the little boy’s hand. “Who is she, Teddy?” Teddy looked blank. “Don’t know—not exactly. She was in Mrs. Sheerug’s house with Hal, and—and then she came and sang to me in bed.”He set about making inquiries. It was a ruined city in the hills he discovered. Oh, yes, there had been several books written about it and innumerable poems. It had been a nest of human eagles once—the home of troubadours. It was the place where the Queens of Beauty and the Courts of Love had started. It was said that if a lover could persuade a reluctant girl to go there with him, she would prove no longer reluctant It was only a superstition; of course Monsieur understood that Monsieur hurried to purchase a guide-book to Les Baux. While he waited among the rhododendrons for Desire, he read it Then he looked up time-tables and found that the pleasantest way to go was from Arles, and that from there one had to drive a half day’s journey.She gazed out of the window. “It’s all about us.” Then, with a laughing glance at him, “I don’t know whatever you’d do, if you didn’t have me to write about.”Fluffy was leading lady in Who Killed Cock Robin? which was playing to crowded houses at The Belshazzar.Years later Teddy looked back and questioned, was it love that the little boy felt that winter’s morning? He had experienced what the grown world calls real love by then, and yet he couldn’t see the difference, except that real love is more afraid, thinks more of itself and is more exacting. If love be a divine uplifting, a desirable madness, a mirage of fine deception which exists only in the lover’s brain, then he felt it that morning. And he felt it in all its goodness, without the manifold doubts as to ulterior motives, without the unstable tenderness which so swiftly changes to utterest cruelty, and without the need to crush in order to make certain. In his love of Vashti he came nearer to the white standards of chivalry than was ever again to be his lot In later years he asked himself, was she really so incredibly beautiful? Did her step have the lightness, her face the bewitching power, her voice the gentleness he had imagined? By that time he had learnt the cynical wisdom which wonders, “What is this hand that I hold so fast, more than any other hand? What are these lips? Flesh—-there are others as warm and beautiful Is this meeting love or is it chance?”“I wrote it for you,” he whispered, “so that you might understand.”She released herself from him. He helped her to rise.She was beautiful—in some ways more beautiful: haunting and unsatisfying: an instrument for romance; a shuttered house from behind whose windows there was a continual sense of watching.She laughed softly. “It’s like a legend. It’s ever so much better than our other good times.”“Life’s so much more surprising when you don’t know where you’re going. That’s what you said, King Arthur. We don’t know where we’re going—we’re both too young. It’s silly to pretend we do. Let’s agree to be immensely kind to each other. Don’t let’s try to be anything closer as yet. If we do—” She wriggled her shoulders; the little curl trembled violently. “I do hate quarreling.—Hulloa! There’s the sea. We’ll be there in a second.”He went out into the darkness and stood back a little from the passage that he might retain the medieval illusion as they passed. He made guesses at their characters. Here came Sir Galahad in silver armor, joking with Merlin, who carried his beard across his arm to prevent it from sweeping the ground. King Arthur, with his sword rattling between his legs, was running to catch up with Sir Launcelot. The girls were more difficult to identify; in their long robes, with their bare arms and plaited hair, there was nothing to distinguish them. As he watched, he saw one with a crown upon her head. The stones in it glinted as she approached. Queen Guinevere, he thought.If they went on living as they were living now, his career would be torn to shreds by her unsatisfied energy. They would have to settle down. In putting up with any irritations that might result, he’d be helping her to pay the penalty—the penalty which Vashti had imposed on so many lives—on her own most of all—by her early selfishness. Towering above his passion and mingling with it oddly, was the great determination to save her from the ruinous lightness to which her mother’s undefined social position had committed her.“Did I write anything? It’s so long ago. How wonderful that you should have remembered!”