He hadn’t intended to be happy, but—— He raised his head stealthily from the pillow, so that his eyes and nose came just above the sheet. He had been given a hot drink with strict instructions to keep covered. No one was there; he sat up. What a secret room! Exactly the kind in which a faery-godmother might be expected to work her spells! Two steps led down into it. Across the door, to keep the draughts out, was hung a needlework tapestry, depicting Absalom’s misfortune. A young gentleman, of exceedingly Jewish countenance, was caught in a tree by his mustard colored hair; a horse, which looked strangely like a sheep, was shabbily walking away from under him. It would have served excellently as a barber’s coat-of-arms. All it lacked was a suitable legend, “The Risks of Not Getting Your Hair Cut.”To her bewilderment a great wave of gladness swept into his eyes. At last he had stumbled on the hidden forethought that lurked behind all her omissions of kindness. She had been trying to save him from herself. In the light of this new interpretation, every grievance that he had harbored became an infidelity. He stretched out his hand, as though unconsciously, till the tips of his fingers were just touching hers.In days gone by, after listening to his father’s stories, he had often climbed to the top of their house that he might spy into the garden of Orchid Lodge. He had little thought in those days that he would ever be Mrs. Sheerug’s prisoner. From the street a passer-by could learn nothing. Orchid Lodge rose up flush with the pavement; the windows, which looked out on Eden Row and the river, commenced on the second story, so that the curiosity of the outside world was eternally thwarted. He had fancied himself as ringing the bell and waiting just long enough to glance in through the opening door before he took to his heels and ran.When Mrs. Sheerug had invaded Teddy’s father that morning, she had come arrayed for conquest. She had worn a green plush mantle, a blue bonnet and, waving defiance from the blue bonnet, a yellow feather.
“Without you, waiting would always seem long.”“It isn’t a trick this time.” where to buy canada goose jackets in toronto His luggage had been passed by the inspector. The crowd was thinning. The only people left were a few flustered passengers who were having trouble with the customs. His hope was ebbing; after his high anticipations he was suffering from reaction. Loitering disconsolately by his trunks, he clutched obstinately at the skirts of his vanishing optimism. His brain was fertile in producing excuses for why she had not met him. The news that the ship had docked might not have reached her, or it might have reached her too late. Perhaps at this very moment she was hurrying to him, sharing his suspense.But his protestations worked no difference. One night, in crossing Times Square, she said, “You may take my arm if you choose.” When an hour later he tried to do it, she drew away from him, with, “I cross heaps of streets without that.” Sometimes, driving home, she would unglove a temptress hand and let it rest invitingly in her lap. At the first sign that he was going to take it, it would pop like a rabbit into the warren of her muff.“Then, it’s your funeral, isn’t it?”“But how? How can we be more certain now you’re going?”The blur of foliage quivered with mysteries of a myriad coinings and goings. Everywhere unseen paths were being traveled to unseen houses. Within sight, yet sounding distant, a woodpecker, like a postman going his rounds, was tap-tap-tapping. where to buy canada goose jackets in toronto 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.“Mademoiselle! But Mademoiselle——” The man looked blank. “But Mademoiselle, a six hours she left this morning with the carriage.”“Desire,” he shouted. “Princess.”The Christmas holidays brought a joyous week. Teddy had a cold and was kept in bed. The light was too bad for painting, so his father came and sat with him.“You see, she must,” Desire explained. “It’s business. October isn’t the success they expected—it’s too English in its atmosphere. If Freelevy likes her, he can put her into his biggest productions. Horace won’t understand that it’s business. He sulks and makes rows. That’s why I go about with her so much—her little chaperone, she calls me. Men have to be polite and can’t take advantage when a young girl is present.”Evening. He sat wearily on the Embankment, gazing up at the back of her hotel, trying to guess which window was hers. In the coolness of the golden twilight he had arrived at the first stage in his exact self-knowledge: that waiting for her had become his mission—without her his future would be purposeless. If he made her his wife, he might live to regret it Her faults went too deep for even love to cure. Any emotion of shame which she had owned to was only for the moment. Whether he lost her or won her, he was bound to suffer. Marriage with her might spell intellectual ruin; but to shirk the risk because of that would be to shatter his idealism forever. To save her from herself and to shelter her in so far as she would allow, had become his religion and the inspiration of his work. And wasn’t that the highest sort of love? where to buy canada goose jackets in toronto He darted off. As he entered the shop, he caught her slow smile of intelligence forbidding him.Next day Hal arrived to fetch him back to London. The wagonette was already standing at the door. He thought that he had said all his farewells, fixed everything indelibly on his memory, when he remembered the lumber-room. Without explanation, he dashed into the house and climbed the stairs.“But can’t I have any clothes at all—not even my shirt?”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 drew up sharply, assuring himself gravely that all these peeps into the future were highly problematic. The chances were that in two weeks’ time he’d be sailing on the return-journey, doing his best to forget that he had ever believed himself in love. where to buy canada goose jackets in toronto “A whole month!” His face seemed set in a mask. “To me it has seemed a century.”Mr. Kingston Dak was a little grasshopper of a man. He had lemon-colored hair, white teeth, extremely well-kept hands and was nearly forty. His littleness was evidently a sore point with him, for the heels of his shoes were built up like a woman’s. He held himself erectly and when others were seated he usually remained standing. He seemed to be always in search of something to lean against which would enable him to tiptoe unobtrusively and to add another inch to his stature. He was clean-shaven, and in appearance shy and boyish; he would have looked excellently well in clerical attire. By hobby he was an occultist; by profession a stockbroker. His chief topic of conversation was the superiority of Mohammedanism to Christianity.“Yes. And you’ve hated me. Desire could tell just how much if she dared. You women all discuss your love-affairs. You’re fondest of a man when he’s absent. When he’s present, you never confess.”“Well, I’m going in here.” The man glanced across his shoulder at the house. “If it’s water you want or anything like that, or if you’d care to use the phone——”“Going?”Leaves shuddered. Across moss-grown paths slugs crawled. Everything betokened rain; all live things were hurrying for shelter. Behind high red walls, where peach-trees hung crucified, the end of day smoldered. The west was a vivid saffron. To the southward black clouds wheeled like vultures. The beauty of the garden shone intense. The greenness of apple-trees had deepened. Nasturtiums blazed like fire in the borders of box. The air was full of poignant fragrances: of lavender, of roses, and of cool, dean earth.He went faint and reached out to steady himself. “From Charing Cross! Why, I’ve just come from there. We must have passed. We——”By a dramatic turn of luck their faculty for curious friendships flung the whole Sheerug household, and Jimmie Boy with it, high up on the strand of what Mrs. Sheerug would have termed “a secure nincome.”It was his first written criticism of her. She kept him waiting six weeks for a reply; when it came it was cabled. He broke the seal tremblingly, not daring to conjecture what he might expect. Her message was contained in one line, “I hate you to be flippant” After keeping him waiting so long, she had been in a great hurry to send him those six words. After that dead silence. It dawned on him that everything was ended.He smiled crookedly, making a lame effort to clamber back to her level of high spirits. “Didn’t you arrange that we were going only to be sensible?” where to buy canada goose jackets in toronto