Footsteps in the passage! Absalom swayed among the branches, making a futile effort to free himself. The door behind the tapestry was being opened. Teddy sank his head deep into the pillows, hoping that his disobedience to orders would pass unobserved.The dresser answered. “A cable was waiting for her. She read it after the first act It took her by surprise, sir. It was to tell her that Mr. Overbridge had married.”“If it’s only once. You promise?”He was dizzy. The world swung under him. goose coat canada “No.” She shook her head sadly. “I’m fair game. I see it all now. I used to think I was only modern, and used to laugh at you for being old-fashioned. You were always trying to tell me. I’m taking back everything unkind that I ever did or said. D’you hear me, Teddy? It’s the way I’ve been brought up. I’m what Horace calls ‘a Slave of freedom.’ I fascinate and I don’t play fair. I’m rotten and I’m virtuous. I accept and accept with my greedy little hands. I lead men on to expect, and I give nothing.”
“Who’s there?” he whispered. goose coat canada “Vashti.”“Then go and bathe.”“To Springfield. Here, I’ll scribble out the address while you get the change. You’d better write your first letter to the theatre in care of Fluffy. I’ll send you the names of the other towns later.”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?” goose coat canada She slipped her arm about his neck and laid her face against his cheek. She was trying to sympathize—trying to draw him out. What did she suspect? Instinctively he barricaded his privacy. He felt a cruel shame that his secret should be guessed. Why he should feel ashamed of love—of love which was so beautiful—he could not tell. “What have you been doing, Teddy?”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.“Who is it?” asked his father.“A discovery?”“Did she say anything?”She spoke gratefully and sat up. From his corner, making no attempt to narrow the distance, he watched her quietly. “D’you always do that?”“I was picturing Ma’s face when Pa comes in and shows her.”Kneeling, Vashti took the little girl’s reluctant hand and held it out to Teddy. Desire snatched it away and began to cry. A knocking at the door caused a diversion; it was the cabman demanding his fare and asking how much longer they expected him to wait Hal paid; Teddy noticed that Vashti let him pay as if it were his right. goose coat canada “Almost like a honeymoon,” he laughed, “with all the bags.”“Come to me in my dreams and thenHe 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.Yet the light of a whole world diesA minute’s silence. goose coat canada Mr. Dak was no worse than he might be if circumstances pushed him far enough. Desire had told him as much: “All men are beasts, I expect.”Vashti had her hand on the latch to let Teddy out when shrill laughter rang through the house. A door in the hall burst open and a small girl ran out, pursued by a man on his hands and knees. He had a rug flung over his head and shoulders, and was roaring loudly like a lion. The little girl was too excited to notice where she was going or who were present.