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The gray head nodded. “But I’ve always understood, and—and you don’t want to strike me any longer.”CHAPTER XIV—BELIEVING HER GOOD“Tell you?”At the corner of Forty-second Street and Times Square he held her elbow gingerly to guide her through the traffic; on the further pavement he released it They walked separately. Then something happened which marked an epoch in their relations. Shyly she took his arm; previously it was he who had taken hers. She hugged it to her so that their shoulders came together. “Can’t you guess why I wanted to see Fluffy? I’m dying to show it to her.” Then, in a shamefaced little whisper: “Don’t think I’m ungrateful, Meester Deek. I never could say thanks. People—people who really like me understand.”

“I will be a boy,” she whispered rebelliously. canada goose ski jacket uk “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.”Teddy gazed straight before him. The pounding of the horse’s hoofs seemed no louder than the pounding of his heart. ’Harriet said that five pounds were the least that a lady would expect. “And so—and so—— There’s five pounds.”“I gave her Farmer Joseph’s address; it was written on the cart.”He pulled out his watch. Nearly eleven! Slipping into his coat and picking up his bag, he glanced round the room for the last time. What interminable hours he had wasted there—waiting for her, finding explanations for her, cutting cards to discover by necromancy whether she would marry him! With a sigh that was almost of relief, he opened the door and switched off the light.He carried out her request perfunctorily.“Miss Desire hasn’t finished dressing yet,” the maid told, him. “If you’ll wait in here, she’ll be with you presently.”Mrs. Sheerug, not sure whether she was being praised or blamed, shook her head with dignity. “You’re trying to let me down lightly, Mr. Gurney.”“When was the first?”He found himself gazing into the humorous blue eyes which had discovered him playing tricks with his engine before the house in Regent’s Park.Of a sudden life became glorious—more glorious than he had ever believed possible. It commenced on the morning after he had written his letter to Hal.“Poor you! No.” She shook her head slowly. “I wish you could. You see, I’ve got to do without you, too. But you don’t like her—I mean Fluffy. She’s on the road in a try-out before she opens in New York.—Only two weeks, Meester Deek! Look on the bright side of things. You can get through all your work while I’m gone and then, when I come back, we can play together.—If you stay,” she added softly.“And I’ve dreamt about you,” she nodded. “You were my faery-story.”“Oh, better.”“Do we? I wasn’t trying. I was thinking of something that Fluffy told Horace. She said that men never married the women who said ‘Yes.’ It’s the women who say ‘No’ sweetly that men marry.”Then she realized that he was sitting up in bed and pounced on him. Some more of the brown stuff was forced down his throat and the clothes were once more gathered tightly round his neck. canada goose ski jacket uk But the scenery proved silencing.She cocked her head on one side like a knowing little bird.He paused to let the picture form before he went further. It would be rather fun. He saw himself holding hands with her and bowing to applauding audiences. As husband and wife they’d travel the world together, emancipated beings who never gave a thought to money, each contributing to the other’s triumph. Fun! Yes. But unsettling. The life that he had always planned was a kind of glorified Eden Row existence without the worries. He thought of Jimmie Boy and Dearie, and all the quiet bonds of dependence they had built up by living always in one place together.He laughed shyly and slipped his fingers softly into hers. canada goose ski jacket uk canada goose ski jacket uk canada goose ski jacket uk He wandered out into the garden where his pigeons were flying. Instinctively his steps led him to the stable. From the stalls he dragged out The Garden Enclosed, which was to have made his father famous. He gazed at it; as he gazed, the world seemed better. The world must be a happy place so long as there were women in it like that. People said that his father hadn’t succeeded; but he had by being true to what he knew to be best.He helped her into her wraps. They passed out into the gold and silver landscape. It was like entering into a new faith—like leaving deceit behind. Merriness was in the air. Birds fluttered out of hedges, making the snow glitter in their exit. From farms out of sight, roosters blew shrill challenges, like trumpeters riding through a Christmas faeryland. Humping their knees against the horizon, mountains lay hushed in their eternal rest.“Had no lunch!” Teddy spoke in the tones of one to whom a missed meal spelled tragedy.“I won’t trouble you. Thanks all the same.”“Oh, weren’t you?” Teddy shrugged his shoulders.“Now you’re drizzling.”It was as though a story-book had been snatched from his hands when he was halfway through the adventure. There were so many things that he wanted to know. It seemed to him that he had lost sight of Vashti for ever.Desire had sunk back upon the bed of bracken. “Oh, dear, I’m so hungry. My shoes is full of stockings and I can’t go any further. Poor Teddy’s tired, too; and I wouldn’t let a strange boy carry me. It wouldn’t be modest.”In the exact sense they weren’t even clothing; they were adornments, planned with a view to exposing quite as much as to concealing the person. To enhance the effect of beauty was their sole purpose.She snuggled up to him like a weary child. “I’m at the cross-roads.—Don’t kiss me—you put me out when you do that. Just put your arms about me so that I feel safe. I—I want to tell you.”