He got no further. As he opened his mouth to assert his perfect health, the glass was pressed against his lips and tilted. He had to swallow or be deluged.Try as he would, he could not disguise the fact that he was in love with her. A light shone in his eyes. This seemed no game, but a natural preliminary to something that must happen. She was indignant when the custodians of the apartments took it for granted that they were an engaged couple. She ungloved her hand that they might see for themselves that the ring was lacking. “It’s for my mother,” she explained. “Yes, I like the apartment; but I can’t decide till my mother has seen it” She referred to Teddy pointedly as “My friend.” The janitors looked knowing. They smiled sentimentally and put her conduct down to extreme bashfulness. canada goose online usa He repeated his question in French.She made no answer.
They sat holding hands, gazing at each other. In the silence, without the fever of caresses, he had come nearer to her than at any previous moment. They were two children who had experimented with things they did not understand, and were a little frightened at what had happened and a little glad.It was Duke Nineveh, with his knowledge of human vanity, who won Mrs. Sheerug. He spoke to her as an artist to an artist, and asked permission to see her tapestries. He spent an entire afternoon, peering at them through his monocle. Next day he returned.She came and leant her forehead against his shoulder. “Do say it. Have I?”Hal tried to look very serious. “Oh, yes, most certainly it’s a faery house. I’m only allowed here because I’m your champion.”“I wish you’d do more work. Why don’t you leave me alone to-morrow? And you oughtn’t to keep on spending and spending. I’d be just as happy if you spent less.”Again she took up her playing. “And yet—and yet life would be tedious without love. We’re so afraid that love will never come to us, aren’t we, Teddy? Afraid that our latest chance will be our last. You see, I’m like that, too; I know all about it. You’re asleep. Perhaps we’re both asleep—both dreaming of something more splendid than reality. Don’t let’s wake up—we’ll be unhappy. Let’s go on dreaming together.”Here are my terms. No kissing, no love-making, nothing like that till I give permission. We’re just two friends who have met by accident and have made up our minds to travel together. Don’t join me, if you can’t live up to the contract.They passed through Wells, where the cathedral lay like a gigantic coffin beneath the stars. Having panted up the steep ascent beyond the town, they commenced the twenty-mile downhill run to Bath.“We’ll leave out the always. But to-day you’ll do whatever I tell you.”She bent over them curiously, as though she hadn’t the least idea what he had been purchasing. As she stripped the paper from them and the white cup of the blossoms began to appear, she frowned severely.Teddy grabbed his shoulder fiercely. “You shan’t see her. We’ll stay just as far away as——”She tucked him up, leaving only his head, not even a bit of his neck, showing. “If you don’t perspire soon, tell me,” she said, “and I’ll give you some more.”As he drove away he muttered, “Played me like a trout! He’s no cause to laugh when he’s been refused himself.” canada goose online usa “But do you think you ought to?” canada goose online usa “What makes you say that?”“And I’ve dreamt about you,” she nodded. “You were my faery-story.” canada goose online usa “They’ll be always just Horace and Tom to me, while you—perhaps. I can’t explain, Meester Deek, if you don’t understand.”“I came because you wrote that you needed me. But your laughing and the way you met me——”CHAPTER V—SUSPENSE canada goose online usa His lover’s eye detected a wealth of cleverness in her correspondence. He sincerely believed that she was more gifted as a writer than himself. Her letters were full of descriptions of Fluffy in her part, thumb-nail sketches of the other members of the cast and accounts of the momentously personal adventures of a theatrical company on tour. She had a trick of humor that made her intimate in an adjective, and made him laugh. She also had a trick of allotting to him prejudices. “You’d call our leading man a very bad character, but I like him: I think one needs to have faults to be truly charitable. I’d ask you to join us, but—— You wouldn’t get on with theatrical people; you rather—I know, so you needn’t deny it—you rather despise them. I think they’re the jolliest crowd. We dance every night when the show is ended and have late suppers, and—you can guess.”And so, if the unthinkable were to befall him, and he were to fail to make Desire love him—— He couldn’t believe that love could ever fail to awaken love—not the kind of love he had for her; but, lest that disaster should happen and that he might prevent it from crushing him, he tried not to take the purpose of his voyage too seriously. He pretended to regard it cavalierly as an adventure. He schooled himself in the knowledge that he might not be wanted. Except for her having said, “Come to America if you really care,” he had no grounds for supposing that she would want him. Why should he be anything to her? She was only something to him because, by reason of her parentage, she had appealed powerfully to his imagination at the chivalrous period of adolescence. He had woven his dreams about her memory, clothed it with affection and brought it with him up to manhood; then, by pure accident, he had met her. She herself had warned him that he did not love the actual Desire, but the magic cloak in which he had enfolded her. Perhaps most men did that—worshiped a fantastic ideal, till they became sufficiently humble to set out in search of reality.“Ha! How d’you manage that? Made friends with Madame Josephine, have you?” Then to Madame Josephine, “I say, it’ll hurt business if you’re seen traveling third. Appearances, appearances, my dear—they’ve got to be kept up.”He became passionate in her defense. “You’re not wrong. I wouldn’t have anything, not a single thing in your life altered—nothing, Desire, from—from the very first. You’re the dearest, sweetest——”She caught his meaning and smiled mysteriously. “Yes—quite often.” Then, speaking slowly, “I guess most misunderstandings happen between men and women because they’re not honest with each other.”He disembarked at Fishguard an hour after midnight The December air was raw and damp. His first action on landing was to dispatch his journal-letter to her. As he drowsed in the cold, ill-lighted carriage it was of her that he thought Now that the voyage was ended, the ocean that lay between them seemed impassable as the gulf that is fixed between hell and heaven. She had seen the steamer—she had been a topic of conversation on board; but everything that he saw now, and would see from now on, was unfamiliar to her.Your foolish Desire.Picking up the flowers he had purchased for her, he dashed out of the station and shouldered his way to where some fiacres were standing. Thrusting a twenty-franc note into the nearest cocker’s hand, he startled the man into energy.“Monsieur, I understand that you are not stopping at this hotel.”