CHAPTER VII—LOVING DESIREThey heard the rattle of the carriage in the tunnel. Joining hands, they set out down the steep decline. In the valley they found themselves among laurel-roses, pink with bloom and heavy with fragrance. Then they commenced the climb to Les Baux, through cypresses standing stiffly as sentinels. Beady-eyed, half-naked children watched them and hid behind rocks when they beckoned.As they watched her drive away in the brougham that was waiting for her, accompanied by the man who never had to work, they could scarcely believe that she was not what she looked at that distance—a girl of little more than twenty.“We’ll come out if you’ll promise to turn round. We’ll do anything, Princess. You can have the pond all to yourself.” canada goose parkas on sale
And back there at the end of the lengthening wake, did Broadway still flash and glitter, a Vanity Fair over which sky-signs wove ghostly and monstrous sorceries?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.“A doll’s house of the gods,” he said.CHAPTER XVI—THE GHOST OF HAPPINESS canada goose parkas on sale “Teddy knows. It’s one of Pa’s pigeons. Didn’t think I’d get home to-night when I came to look for you, so I brought it to let ’em know not to expect me.”A key grated in the latch. She didn’t snatch away her hand the way she would have done formerly. She sat motionless, courting discovery. They heard Vashti’s voice, bidding some man good-night. The door shut. Glancing in on them in passing, she pretended to be unaware of what was happening. “I’m going straight to bed. You don’t mind if I don’t stay to talk with you? I’m tired.”She gasped. “What a darling! Diamonds! Are they diamonds? They must be since they’re Tiffany’s. But it must have cost—-” canada goose parkas on sale She had bought another poodle-dog.“The plot! I’m the plot. You may smile, but I am.—I am the plot of October—isn’t that so, Horace?”He swung round and caught her fiercely, shaking her as he pressed her to him.“Yes. I’ve nothing to keep me in America; I had nothing to bring me over except you. If I stay here and don’t give my people an explanation, they’ll begin to wonder. It won’t be playing the game. So if you don’t care——”“Not very.”From time to time, as they sat together in that locked room, she told him of herself. She gave him glimpses of passion and the despair of its ending. “It doesn’t pay. It doesn’t pay,” was the burden of what she said. One night, it was four years since he had known her, they forgot to turn on the light. Across the ceiling, like a phantom butterfly, the flare from the street-lamps fluttered. canada goose parkas on sale Then began the long days of waiting, from which all purpose in living seemed to have been banished. Ambitions, which had goaded him forward, were at a halt. Everything unconnected with her took on an air of unreality. His personality became distasteful to him because it seemed not to have attracted her sufficiently.All through the meal, to the alternate thunder of the sea and the jiggling accompaniment of rag-time, he told her. How La Belle Dame Sans Merci lay in wait in woodlands to tempt knights aside from their quests and, when she had made them love her, left them spell-bound and unsatisfied. They forgot time and place as they talked. The old trustful intimacy held them hanging on each other’s words. They were children again in the meadows at Ware, hiding from Farmer Joseph; only now Farmer Joseph was their fear of their own shyness.He staggered as he walked away. His face was set and white. An old lady touched him gently. “Is the news so bad?”For him the success of Beauty Incorporated brought two results: an income and a friend. Mr. Sheerug had rewarded his escapade at Brighton by allotting him shares in the company. The boom increased their value beyond all expectations; he found himself possessed of over three hundred pounds per annum. But the more valuable result was the knowledge of life which he gained from his friendship with Madame Josephine.“Of the boy who threw the stone.” canada goose parkas on sale She had forgotten to put her address. He pulled out his watch. Five minutes past eight! He had no time to consult railway-guides—no time even to pack. All he knew was that the boat-train left Charing-Cross for Dover in less than an hour; he could just catch it Returning to his bedroom, he gathered together what cash he could find In three minutes he was in the hall again.“I’ll bathe,” he consented, “if you’ll come with me. But aren’t you hungry?”More than that he could not learn; she did not wish to pursue the subject further.