It was her turn to glance away. She had wakened something which both thrilled and frightened her. She took refuge in disappointment.“Ah, that’s different.”Strange letters these to receive in the old-fashioned quiet of Eden Row, where days passed orderly and marshaled by duties! They came fluttering to him beneath the gray London skies, like tropic birds which had lost their direction. He would sit picturing her in an Eden Row setting, telling himself stories of the wild combinations of circumstances that might bring her tripping to him!Horace glanced up and spoke abruptly in a lowered voice. “When I was at Baveno one summer, I ran across an old man. He had a cottage in a vineyard half a mile up the hill, overlooking Maggiore. He came every year all the way from Madrid to photograph the view from his terrace. He thought it the most beautiful view in the world, and was as jealous of letting any one else share it as if it had been a woman. He had taken thousands of pictures of it, all similar and yet all different He was always hoping to get two that were alike; but the light on snow-mountains is fickle. I suppose he was a little cracked. He had fooled away his career, and was old and hadn’t married. When he went back to Madrid, it was only to earn money so as to be able to return and to take still more photographs next year.—Can you guess why I’ve told you?”“I think it was.” He refused to be diverted. “I think it was real tragedy. She’s given up so much for fame; it’s brought her nothing.”He raised his face and put his arms about her neck. “I haven’t been good to you, mother. It’s like you to say that I have; but I haven’t. I’ve ignored you and given the best of myself to some one for whom it has no value. I’ve been sharp and irritable to you. You’ve wanted to ask questions—you had a right to ask questions; I’ve kept you at arm’s length. You’ve wanted to do what you’re doing now—to hold me close and show me that you cared; and I’ve—I’ve felt like striking you. That’s the way with a man when he’s pitied. You know I have.”
“Twenty thousand what?” asked Mrs. Sheerug contemptuously.“My God, I’m wretched! For years it’s been always the same: the restlessness when I’m with her; the heartache when I’m without her. She won’t send me away and she won’t have me, and—and I haven’t the strength to go away myself. No, it isn’t strength. It’s something that I can’t tell even to you. Something that keeps me tortured and binds me to her.”Teddy eased his arm from under the little girl and nodded. “Let’s light a fire first. She’ll know then that we’re not far away, and won’t be nervous.”Without looking at him she asked a question. “Why do you beat about the bush? Last night you had something on your mind that you wouldn’t tell. This morning it’s worse. What makes you so timid? I’m only a girl.” real canada goose jackets Desire began to toy with the silky ears. “My little chaperone knows what’s best for me, I guess.—Meester Deek doesn’t love ’oo, Twinkles. He thinks ’oo’s a very interfering little doggie.”“It hasn’t—hasn’t been quite our day, Teddy—not quite the day we’d planned. I’m dreadfully sorry; I wouldn’t have had it happen this way for the world.”She twisted her hands. Her face had gone white. When she spoke her voice was earnest and tired. “You force me to tell you.—I did want to see a good man—a good man who loved me. You’ll never guess why. It was to get back my self-respect That man—that man whom I led on in California, he saw us together in Paris. He misunderstood. He thought vile things. After I’d left you and joined Fluffy, I met him again and he asked me to be—— I can’t say it; but when a man like that misunderstands things about a girl——” Self-scorn consumed her. “It wasn’t only because he’d seen us together—it wasn’t only that.” Her voice sank to a bitter whisper. “I’m the daughter of a woman who was never married—he found that out; so he asked me to become his——”“That’s the hot water bottles,” she said. “If you don’t perspire soon you must have some more medicine.”“Very kind.”“In your world,” she said. “No, don’t let’s drive. This isn’t New York. We’d miss all the adventure. I’d rather walk now.” real canada goose jackets “Anywhere.” When he had taken his place at her side, “You may put your arm about me,” she murmured drowsily. real canada goose jackets “Well, then if you won’t tell me that, answer me this question. How long does it last?”“You were afraid of me; that was why you ran.”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.”“Believe in romance!” He felt her slippered foot touching his beneath the table. “I couldn’t look at you and not believe in it. Everything that’s ever happened to you and me is romance: the way Hal and Farmer Joseph brought me to you; the way we met in the dead of night at Glastonbury; and now—— I’ve come like a troubadour as far as Columbus, just to be near you. Isn’t that romance? Romance is like happiness; it’s in the heart It doesn’t shine into you; it shines out Even those people over there, hopping about to rag-time, they don’t seem vulgar; they become romance when you and I watch them.”“Well, I never!” she whispered. “Wot liberties ter taik wiv a lady!” real canada goose jackets He was passing out; Desire touched him on the arm possessingly. “I couldn’t help it,” she whispered. “We’ll have all to-morrow to ourselves. You’re not angry?” Angry! As though he’d come all the way to America to be angry.He had spoiled everything; there was no denying it There would be no more camp-fires, no more slaying of bird-catchers, no more pretending you were a war-horse with a rescued Princess from Goblinland riding on your back. Teddy was too unhappy to blame or forgive Ruddy. He pulled on his shirt and indulged in reflections.“Oh, Duke, for once I’m not caring.”A year almost to the day since she had said so lightly, “Come to America”! And now she was so near, and he could not go to her.“It’s to be expected,” said Mr. Dak. real canada goose jackets At first he was inclined to be dissatisfied that he gained so little ground: when he advanced, she retreated; when he retreated, she advanced. If, to woo him back to a proper demonstrativeness, she had to display some new familiarity, she was careful not to let it become a habit.