Vashti’s name was never mentioned in connection with the attempted suicide, but he quickly knew that in some mysterious way she was held responsible. When he asked his mother, “Was it because Hal went to America?” she answered him evasively, “Harriet’s a curious girl—not quite normal. That may have had something to do with it.”Fluffy jumped up, half laughing, half crying, and threw wide the window. She leant out, so that the snow fell glistening in the gold of her hair.“I don’t think we’re leaving.” Teddy glanced at Desire. Then, with a rush of decision: “We’re planning to stay a day or two longer. It’ll be all the same to you; I’ll pay for the return journey.”She sat with her hand against her throat, gazing at him smilingly.
She had removed her hat for comfort. Once a fire-fly blew in at the window and settled in her hair. It wandered across her face, lighting up her brows, her lips—each memorized perfection. She raised her hand and brushed it aside. It flew back into the night, leaving behind it a trail of phosphorescence. His need of her was growing cruel. canada goose expedition parka When she asked him “What?” he showed her.He was still intent upon the portrait when she danced across the threshold, swinging her gloves. canada goose expedition parka Don’t mind what dem white chiles say.”“Not quite really,” he owned; “but almost really. At least my toes are.”“Going where?” his father questioned.To Desire this was the crowning marvel—that a boy could tie a message to a bird and tell it where to go. She watched Ruddy scrawl on the thin slip of paper and tiptoed to see the slate-blue wings beat high and higher towards the clouds. When it was no more than a speck, the Pucklike figure started laughing.Vashti shook her head. “I’m not good. I’m wicked.” The older woman tried to reach up to kiss her. Again Vashti shook her head, “Not to-night.” canada goose expedition parka Seated on the floor in the dim-lit room, with the Christmas presents strewn around, he told her. The first part was the old story of how he had dreamt about her from a child.How long had she recognized him? Had she been cruel on purpose? Had she kept him on tenter-hooks for her own diversion? He laughed softly. It wasn’t quite the rushing together of two souls that imagination had painted. And yet, there were compensations: the sleeping houses with their blinds discreetly lowered; the sparkling river; the spray of plunging clouds; on the bridge, suspended between sky and river, this pale queenly sprite of a girl. The golden girdle about her waist jingled. He took no notice the first time and the second; but the third it seemed a challenge. He reached out his arm.After he had paid, he searched round for her. She had gone. It was the first time she had done it; she always waited for him. So she knew what was coming! By her flight she was lengthening by a few more minutes their long uncertainty. In the quiet of the dim-lit room, with the snow gliding past the window, each separate flake tiptoeing like a faery, he would tell her. But would he need to tell her? She would be waiting for him, her face drooping against her shoulder, looking sweet and weary. She would be like a tired child, its mischief forgotten, ready to stretch out its arms and snuggle in his breast. All that need be said would come in broken phrases—phrases which no one but themselves could understand. And then, after that—— She might cry a little. When they were married, perhaps Hal——Whatever he did, the eyes of Tom watched him from the photograph on the piano. He had been hoping for months that she would remove it The eyes watched him in malicious silence. She had told him that Tom was a sort of brother. He had never disputed it, but he knew that no man could play the brother for long with such a girl. He wondered if Tom had found her lips more accessible, and whether she had ever kissed him in return.“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.”“Marriage!” She raised it to her ear and shook it “Money!”“Who?”“You like babies, Meester Deek? If ever I were married, I’d like to have a baby-girl first. They’re so cuddly and dear to dress.” canada goose expedition parka “Poor little girl! You must have guessed?”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?”“Oh, you foolish! I’ve got to catch my boat to-morrow. And besides——” She paused and reflected. “Besides, I’m never so very sorry to leave anything. I’m an odd girl” (The same old phrase, “D’you think I’m an odd child, Teddy?”) “I’m never too sorry to say good-by. I want to push on and on. I’m always looking ahead.”She had told him not to disturb her till eleven, but he had persuaded himself that he would hear from her long before that—at nine, perhaps; at ten, at latest. She had tried to appear offhand in arranging the appointment because another man had been present He pretended to think it rather decent of her to have let the chap down so lightly. canada goose expedition parka “Who else? No, listen before you thank me. I thought they’d never get it done. They’ve been weeks over it. All day I’ve been hurrying them. Now, won’t you own that you have been misunderstanding?”Eden Row set him remembering. The disgust with life that he was now feeling, had only one parallel in his experience—that, too, was concerned with her: the shock which her father’s confession had caused him on the train-journey back from Ware. “If you’re ever tempted to do wrong, remember me. If you’re ever tempted to get love the wrong way, be strong enough to do without it” And then, “I sinned once—a long while ago. I’m still paying for it You’re paying for it One day Desire may have to pay the biggest price of any of us.”They got tired of wandering. On the edge of a low garden wall, with their backs against the railing, they seated themselves. It was in a road of small villas, dotted with golden windows and shadowy with the foam of foliage.“It doesn’t matter.”“So, honey, jest play in your own backyard.”“No.” She laid her face against his pleadingly. “That didn’t prevent It was—— Oh, Meester Deek, won’t you understand—you’ve always been so unjudging? At Les Baux that night you wakened something—something that I’d never felt. I didn’t dare to trust myself. It wasn’t you that I distrusted. I wanted to go somewhere alone—somewhere where I could think and come to myself. If I’d written to you, or received letters from you——”“That’s just what I can’t do.” Mr. Hughes clasped his bony hands: “It don’t seem respectful to what’s maybe dead.”He grew ashamed. At last he grew angry. It wasn’t decent of Desire. He had given her no excuse for the way she was acting.“I am.” She caught her breath and gazed at him wonderingly. “How foolish of you! That’s why we’ve driven all night, and——”She swept the hair back from her forehead and gazed away from him. She mustn’t let him know that he’d upset her.“Ah, well,” she shook her head mournfully, “I can see what would happen. If we married, you would make an obstinate husband. You don’t really love me.”