“Hulloa, Ethel! So you see I’ve got back. How’s Miss Janice? Busy packing?”“At that! What made you look at that?”She had a charming, flute-like note in her voice when she asked a question.Suddenly he realized. He was fighting towards her through the crowd. He had his hand on the steward’s shoulder. “Damn you. Don’t touch her.”He repeated his question in French.
Then the news leaked out that Hal had gone too.“Who was it?”“But it isn’t that. I wouldn’t accept any more. It’s the dear old ones that I want—the ones you sent me almost the minute you landed.”As he hummed along through the green-gold country he gave himself up to the mood of enchantment. In the transforming light of the fading sunset it seemed certain that a bend in the road would bring to view champions of The Round Table riding together.“Perhaps never,” he said. “There was never a Desire——”He threw back the clothes and jumped out. Such imaginings were not allowed. But they returned. Like a snow-capped mountain in the dawning, his manhood caught the rose-red glow of passion and trembled, a tower of flame and ivory, above the imperiled valleys of experience.The passage outside her door was piled with trunks; painted on them, like an advertisement, in conspicuous white letters, was Janice Audrey. He tapped. As he waited he heard laughter. In his high-wrought state of nerves the sound was an offense. Grey Langford Parka Canada Goose Mens outlet stores She needed him! It was the first time she had owned as much. From her that admission in three words was more eloquent than many pages. Had her slavery to freedom become irksome? Had it got her into trouble?“But—” the small brain was struggling to discover a meaning—“but could there have been any one else?”At that moment the arrival-platform of the Bay State Limited was announced; they drifted away at the tail of the crowd towards the barrier. Teddy wanted to hurry; his companion saw it. “Heaps of time,” he laughed. “If I know anything about them, they’ll be out last.”CHAPTER XXII—SHE RECALLS HIMAfter lunch he had an inspiration: of course she was at Fluffy’s. He felt certain that he had only to talk with her to put matters right.His eyes had touched hers for a second, penetrating their cloudiness. He let her slip from his grasp. “I’m sorry. I thought—I thought you were some one else.” Grey Langford Parka Canada Goose Mens outlet stores At last he had stirred her. He had wounded her pride. Tears gushed to her eyes, deepening their grayness. She stood gazing after him, dumbly reproachful.Teddy and Ruddy were seated on the steps. At the sound of her gasping cry, they turned to gaze into the shabby comfort of the room. She stood tiptoeing against him, clinging to his hand and scanning his face with her faded eyes. Her gray hair straggled across her wrinkled forehead; her lips trembled. Her weary, worn-out, kindly appearance made her strangely pathetic in the presence of his plump self-assertiveness.Then Madame Josephine took a hand: “When you find her, don’t try to change her. Women long to be trusted. Be content to love.”Jumping on a bus, he rode up Fifth Avenue and alighted at The International Sleeping Car Company. Entering swiftly, for fear his resolution should forsake him, he booked a berth on the Mauretania, sailing on Christmas Eve, the next night. He hesitated as to whether he should send his mother a cable; he determined to postpone that final step. He had booked and canceled a berth before. He tried to believe that he was no more serious now than on that occasion. He was only proving to himself and to her his supreme earnestness. ‘If she gave him any encouragement, even though she didn’t definitely promise to marry him, he would postpone his sailing.A maid in cap and apron answered the bell. She was not at all like Jane, who never looked tidy till after lunch.In his mind’s eye he followed her. He imagined her flitting along the passage from which the dressing-rooms led off, on whose doors were pinned the names of their temporary occupants. He imagined the faded photographs of forgotten stars, gazing mournfully down on her youth from the walls. At the far end she would pause and tap, listening like an alert little bird for the answer. Then the door would open, and she would vanish. She was showing Fluffy her watch-bracelet now; they were vying with each other in their excited exclamations. He could picture it all.“I’m getting wet.”He knelt beside her, conscience-stricken. It was as if he had done her a great wrong. Passion was tossed aside by compassion. As he knelt, he kissed timidly the quivering hands which hid her eyes from him. Grey Langford Parka Canada Goose Mens outlet stores Grey Langford Parka Canada Goose Mens outlet stores “Same reason, and fleas as well.”“My beautiful mother’s so unselfish.”Teddy was puzzled. “Mr. Sheerug!”It was getting late. Not quite the evening he had expected! Very few of his evenings were.“Bed.”As he approached the hall, she slipped after him into the passage. With his hand on the latch he looked back, “Then you won’t let me kiss you?” Grey Langford Parka Canada Goose Mens outlet stores “Yes, my mother’s married. My father paints pictures.”