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That was the climax. From that point on her correspondence grew jerky, dealing more and more with trivial externals and less and less with the poignant things of the past. In proportion as she withdrew from him, he tried to call her back with his sincerity. When he complained of her indifference, she told him mockingly, “I’m keeping all your letters. They’ll give you away entirely when I bring my suit for breach of promise.”He bent forward, smiling into her eyes, grateful for the chance. “There’s so much to tell. All day I’ve been making discoveries. I’ve found out that you’re half-a-dozen persons—not just the one person whom I thought you, Desire. Sometimes you’re Joan of Arc, with dreams in your eyes and your hands lying idly in your lap. Sometimes you’re Nell Gwynn, utterly unshockable and up to any naughtiness. That’s the way you are now—the way I like you best. And sometimes you’re a faery’s child, a Belle Dame Sans Merci, a beautiful witch-girl, who won’t come into my life and won’t let me forge.”He looked to see at what time it had been received. It had arrived at three o’clock; so it had been waiting for him five hours.He wasn’t sure why he didn’t He hadn’t dared to admit to himself why he didn’t. His world was out of focus. He supposed that every man’s world grew out of focus when he fell in love. But the supposition wasn’t quite satisfying; his conscience often gave him trouble.“I’ve bad news to tell you. The Sheerugs have lost all their money. Madame Josephine died suddenly; Duke Nineveh has stolen everything and decamped with a chorus-girl. Beauty Incorporated is exposed and exploded. The papers say it was a swindle. This’ll affect you financially, poor old chap.”

“When I was very little,” she said, “I used to ask you whether I was pretty. You used to drizzle in those days; all you’d tell me was, ’You have beautiful hands.’ Then Bones and I would steal away and cry in the currant-bushes. D’you remember?”He swung round. Her glance fell. “I can’t take it.”What was it that he wanted? It was something for which he never found a name—something which continually eluded his grasp. He was haunted by desire for an intenser beauty. All kinds of things, totally unrelated, would stab him into yearning: sometimes a passage in a book; sometimes the freedom of a bird in flight; and now the music of girlish laughter. He was burdened with the sense that life would not wait for him—would not last; that it was escaping like water through his fingers. He wanted to live it fully. He wanted to be wise, and happy, and splendid. And yet he was afraid—afraid of disillusion. He feared that if he saw anything too closely, it would lose its fascination. Those girls, if he were to be with them, he could not laugh as they laughed; he would have nothing to say. And yet, he knew of boys——“Wonderfully.”A puzzled look crept into Fluffy’s clear child’s eyes—a wounding suspicion that she was being mocked. She put it from her as incredible.“And I’ve dreamt about you,” she nodded. “You were my faery-story.”He had said good-by; she was waving to him across the rail. He was nearly out of sight. He turned and came bounding back.In the old days—the days of Life Till Twenty-one—fame had been the goal of his ambitions. He had set before his eyes, as though it were a crucifix, the austere aloofness of his father’s pure motives. He couldn’t afford to do that any longer. He was spending lavishly; the example of the extravagance of Fluffy’s lovers spurred his expenditures. He didn’t care how he won Desire’s admiration; win it he must. Unconsciously he was trying to win it with a display of generosity. Dimly he foresaw that he was doing her an injustice; he would have to cut down and recuperate the moment they were married. In preparation he painted to her the joys of simplicity and of life in the country. Her curl became agitated with merriment.One day he made a discovery. He had gone to the apartment to call for her earlier than he was expected. She was out Lying on the table under some needle-work was a book which he recognized. He picked it up; it was the copy of Life Till Twenty-One which he had bought for her after the ride from Glastonbury, the receipt of which she had never acknowledged. He had invented all manner of reasons for her silence: that she was annoyed with him for having written about her; that she didn’t take him seriously as an artist. On opening it he found that not only had it been read, but carefully annotated throughout. The passages which referred most explicitly to herself were underscored. Against his more visionary flights she had set query marks. They winked at him humorously up and down the margins. They were like her voice, counseling with laughing petulance, “Now, do be sensible.”In the presence of her frailty he looked more robust, more of a Phoenician pirate than ever. She gloried in his picturesque lawlessness, in the unrestraint of his gestures, in his uncouth silences. What a lover for a woman to have! As she lay there in her weakness she recalled the passion of his arms about her: how he had often hurt her with his kisses, and she had been glad. She wished that she might feel his arms about her now.The tiffs and aloofness of yesterday seemed as distant as a life-time.The door banged in the old gentleman’s face. Jimmie Boy was so enjoying his anger that he didn’t notice that in closing the door he was shutting out his son.He gazed round wildly. He must get to her. He must at least let Desire know that he had made the journey.“Oh, you big, strong man!” Her gray eyes were dancing; a faint flush spread across her forehead. “I do hope nobody saw us.” He was stealing his arm into hers. She turned him back. “Forgetful! You haven’t paid the taxi.” mens canada goose mens canada goose “Not exactly. Can you guess why I planned this? I—I wanted to be fair.”Then, speaking in a puzzled way: “You make things difficult. I shouldn’t be doing right by encouraging you, and——” She faltered over her words. The innocent kindness shone in her eyes. “And I can’t bear to send you away. I don’t know what to do. I’d have encouraged you if I’d written to thank you for those flowers, shouldn’t I? But they made me just as happy as—— I was a regular baby over them. Every morning they lay there on my plate and I wore them the whole day. Fluffy used to chaff me. You don’t like Fluffy.” She winked at him provokingly. “Oh, no, you don’t! You think actresses improper persons. You needn’t deny it.—And I do so want to be an actress, so as to prove to my father and Mrs. Sheerug, and all the lot of them, that I’m worth knowing. Can’t you understand? After I’m great, I might be content to chuck the stage and become only a simple good little wife.” mens canada goose “You always told me I had beautiful hands.”“It would be better.”Her despair sounded real. “Oh, it’s not that. It’s not that,” he cried, dragging her face towards him with both hands.He had made repeated efforts to curb his picturesqueness; he knew that it didn’t pay in an age when the ideal for males is to be undecorative. He knew that his appearance appealed as affectation and bred distrust in the minds of the escutcheoned tradesmen who are England’s art patrons. When they came to confer a favor, they liked to find a gentlemanly shopkeeper—not a Phoenician pirate, with a voice like a gale. His untamedness impressed them as immorality. He always felt that they left him thoroughly convinced that he and Dearie were not married.Breakfast! He hadn’t had any. He was too excited to feel hungry. He didn’t want to go home yet; he’d have to explain the abrupt ending of his holiday. He was trying to make up his mind to go to the station to see her off. As he drove about, killing time, he came to Trafalgar Square. That made him think of Cockspur Street and the shipping offices. He pulled up at Ocean House to find out what boats were sailing on that day. There were three of them, any one of which might be hers. A mad whim took him. Of course it was out of the question that he should go to America. How could he explain such a voyage to his parents? He couldn’t say, “I met Desire for a handful of hours and I’m in love.” Besides, he would never let any one suspect that he was in love. He wouldn’t even be able to mention his night ride from Glastonbury. It would sound improper to people who weren’t romance-people. He could see the pained look that would steal into his mother’s eyes if he told her. Nevertheless, although it was quite impossible, he asked for a list of sailings and made inquiries as to fares. mens canada goose mens canada goose As he approached the town, it came as something of a shock to notice that its outskirts bore signs of newness. But as he drove into the heart of it, medieval buildings loomed up: gray, night-shrouded towers; stooping houses with leaded windows; the dusky fragrance of ivy, and narrow lanes which turned off into the darkness abruptly. Somewhere in the shadows was Chalice Hill, where the cup of the Last Supper lay buried. Not far distant, within the Abbey walls, the coffin of King Arthur was said to have been found. His imagination thrilled to the antiquity of the legend.Sinking his head forward, he relapsed into silence and sat staring at the seat opposite. When the train was galloping through the outskirts of London, he spoke again.“You weren’t as foolish as that?”

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Though he was exceptionally ignorant of the feminine arts and familiar only with domestic types of women, Teddy thought that he now understood why she had taken two hours to dress. For his sake she had made herself a work of art. It was as though she had told him, “I want you to like me better than any girl in the world, Teddy”—only, for some unexplained reason, she had avoided calling him Teddy as yet.“But why this dress?”She made no answer.“They all say that.” discount canada goose

discount canada goose She played with the temptation, raising his expectations. Then, “No. I’ve too much to do—packing and all sorts of things. Perhaps you’re right We’d be awkward with each other before them. We’d better say ’Good-by’ now.” discount canada goose It was only in crowded places that her actions acknowledged it; when they were by themselves her reticence announced plainly, “Trespassers will be prosecuted.” Then she became forbidding; but her sudden gusts of coldness, her very inaccessibility, only added the more to her attraction. He told himself that women who left men nothing to conquer were not valued. He found himself filled with overpowering longings to defy her attempts to thwart him. His mind seethed with pictures of what might happen. He saw himself pressing those hands against his lips, kissing her eyes or her slender neck, where the false curl danced and beckoned. Would this pain of expectancy never end? Did she also suffer beneath her pale aloofness?“Shall I take your ticket?”“I don’t think you’re wasting time with me,” she said.“Never clapped eyes on him in my life. A pretty woman belongs to the whole world, Teddy.” discount canada goose At last it was his turn.As the company tumbled out, their self-ridicule was heightened by the patent unsuitability of their attire. The men in their silk-hats and evening-dress, the women in their high-heeled shoes and dainty gowns looked dishonest and shallow apart from their environment.He loosed himself. “Mother, it’s shameful that we should speak so of a girl.”She frowned. “And I was in California, having such good times.”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.”It was three days before Christmas. The weather had turned to a sparkling coldness. Tall buildings looked like Niagaras of stone, poured from the glistening blueness of the heavens. In Madison Square and Columbus Circle Christmas trees had been set up. New York had a festive atmosphere—almost an atmosphere of childhood. Schools had broken up; streets were animated with laughing faces. Mistletoe and holly were in evidence. At frequent corners a Santa Claus was standing, white-bearded and red-coated, clattering his bell. Broadway and Fifth Avenue were thronged with matin茅e-girls and their escorts. They sprang up like flowers, tripping along gayly, snuggling their cheeks against their furs. Stores were Aladdin’s Caves, where money could make dreams come true. The spendthrift good-nature of the crowds was infectious.After 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.Indoors he had searched everywhere; only one other place was leftThe stranger didn’t answer; he appeared to be sleeping—sleeping, however, with considerate care not to crumple the beautiful flannel suit The train raced on. A clear, sea-look was appearing above the Sussex Downs, like the bright reflection of a mirror flashing. It was exasperating. They would soon be at Brighton and this man would escape them with his valuable knowledge.For the first day he was consoled by the sight of her tin-type photograph on the desk before him. He glanced at it between sentences and felt that she was near him. But soon he made a sad discovery: it was fast fading. As the days went by he exposed it to the light more and more grudgingly. He had the superstitious fear that, if it was quite dark before she returned, his hope of winning her would be ended.He buried his face in the pillow. He didn’t want to get better. He wanted to die and to make people sorry.“You shan’t.” He had caught something of her passion. “Mrs. Sheerug has promised. She lives quite near our house, and you’ll be my little sister. You shall come and feed my pigeons, and see my father paint pictures. My mother’s called Dearie—did I tell you that? Don’t be frightened; I’ll lie awake all to-night in case you call.”He shook his head. “I’m like Twinkles. I’m waiting.”Hal spoke bitterly. Teddy felt that Desire was being accused and sprang to her defense. “I don’t see how you could expect her to love you after what you had done.” The man looked up sharply. “After what I had done! D’you mean kidnaping her, or something further back?”He spoke like a man in doubt, anxious to convince himself.“Darling, I want to make it all up to you. I want to give you everything.”She melted and gazed at him penitently. In the next breath she was chaffing. “If you go on this way, I shan’t bring you out for holidays. You might die in my arms. Nice thing, that! It’d ruin my reputation.”Stung by the old taunt he grew reckless. “I did tell you. You heard what I said, but you tricked me by pretending you were sleeping.”“We’ve seen something better and got our perspective.”The implied accusation that he had carried her off thrilled him. It was the way she said it—the coaxing music of her voice: it told him that she was asking for his adoration. His arms reached up and went about her neck; his lips stole up to hers. Made shy by what he had done, he hid his face against her breast.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.The man laid his card on the table, and again raised his hat“Not for a moment. You’d better go to him now.” discount canada goose And nothing else saw all day long;“So, honey, jest play in your own backyard,

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Footsteps in the passage! Absalom swayed among the branches, making a futile effort to free himself. The door behind the tapestry was being opened. Teddy sank his head deep into the pillows, hoping that his disobedience to orders would pass unobserved. Constable Parka Womens Canada Goose Blue online She was like a child, stopping her ears with her fingers and pleading, “Please don’t tell me any more ghost-stories.” He felt sorry for her; at such times she seemed so inexperienced and young. By her misplaced valuations, she was giving life such power to hurt her. Her sophistication seemed more apparent than real—a disguise for her lack of knowledge. He wanted to comfort her against old age. If one were loved, neither poverty nor growing old mattered. He thought of Dearie and the way she had married his father, with their joint affection and her high belief in him for their sole assets.“You ought to go. I’m—I’m glad you’re not going.”They had left the traffic where the snow was churned into mud. Once more it was a world of spun glass, of whiteness and quiet, that they traversed. To Teddy it seemed that the cab was magic; it knew its way out of ugliness to the places where dreams grow up.

CHAPTER XXIII—HIS WAITING ENDSShe tried to draw him down to her. “Take it,” she urged.“I don’t; that’s why I’m telling you. I’m not being unkind. My business may be yours.”The description Ruddy gave of his father’s capacities would have compelled hair to grow on Mr. Ooze’s head, especially that it might stand up.“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.”He swung round. Her glance fell. “I can’t take it.”“My dear! My dear!” Mrs. Sheerug’s voice was broken. Her tired hands wandered over him, patting and caressing. “My poor Hal! To think that any woman should dare to use you so and that I can’t prevent it! Why, Hal, if I could bear your burdens, and see you glad, and hear your laughter in the house, I’d—I’d die for you, Hal, to have you young and happy as you were. Doesn’t it mean anything to you that your mother can love you like that?”He picked up his paper and wriggled his toes in his silk socks. It was difficult to trace the connection between wearing tight shoes and kind-heartedness.“Come to dinner seven forty-five. Vashti Jodrell.”“Pooh! Look round. Who cares!” cried Ruddy.“Will—will she bring it herself?” he asked, trying to disguise his anxiety.“Let me carry you.” Constable Parka Womens Canada Goose Blue online She looked away as if she feared she had encouraged him too much. Again the silence settled down.As the shopman wrapped it up, he remarked, “You were in luck to get a copy. There’s been a run on it. The publishers are out of stock. This is our last one.”He looked up from inspecting his lamps. She had come down the steps to the pavement. The porter had entered the hotel; inside he was shooting the last bolt into its socket. Constable Parka Womens Canada Goose Blue online “I knew a boy once who called me ’Princess.’ He used to tell me—it was a queer, dear thing to tell me—he used to tell me that the babies came into my eyes when I was happy. But that was only when I’d been awfully nice to him.” When he stared at her, she nodded. “Really. He did. I’m not joking.”He was at a loss for words. He couldn’t bring himself to tell her across the wire. While he hesitated, he heard her receiver hung up.CHAPTER X—AND NOTHING ELSE SAW ALL DAY LONGCrossing the room, he opened the door and halted on the point of departure.It came from outside in the darkness, where trees knelt beneath the sky like camels. Sometimes it seemed very far away, and sometimes just beneath his window. It made him think of faeries dancing by moonlight It was like the golden hair of the Princess Lettice lowered from her casement to her lover. It was like the silver feet of laughter twinkling up a Beanstalk ladder to the stars. It was like spread wings, swooping and drifting over a faery-land of castellated tree-tops. It grew infinitely distant. He strained his ears; it was almost lost It kept calling and calling to his heart.Teddy was puzzled. “Mr. Sheerug!”“You talk,” he said. “Tell me about your mother. She must be very good to have a little girl like you.” Constable Parka Womens Canada Goose Blue online As Hal slipped out, he left the door open and nodded. “She’ll see you.”“It’s to be expected,” said Mr. Dak. Constable Parka Womens Canada Goose Blue online If they went on living as they were living now, his career would be torn to shreds by her unsatisfied energy. They would have to settle down. In putting up with any irritations that might result, he’d be helping her to pay the penalty—the penalty which Vashti had imposed on so many lives—on her own most of all—by her early selfishness. Towering above his passion and mingling with it oddly, was the great determination to save her from the ruinous lightness to which her mother’s undefined social position had committed her.He smiled crookedly, making a lame effort to clamber back to her level of high spirits. “Didn’t you arrange that we were going only to be sensible?”

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“Sounds jolly,” said Teddy; “I’d like to go most awfully, only—only what makes you and mother so sad?”Her mood changed swiftly. “Oh, how stupid we are! Give me a pencil and some paper. Now put your foot on the step of the car and make a table for me.”She played with the temptation, raising his expectations. Then, “No. I’ve too much to do—packing and all sorts of things. Perhaps you’re right We’d be awkward with each other before them. We’d better say ’Good-by’ now.”When he couldn’t guess, she bent over him and whispered. He clapped his hands. “To see a house!”“No, but I have a friend——”“Oh, come!” She patted his hand. “There’s no question that you could ask him that I couldn’t answer. He’s only a man.”“Sometimes I wonder whether I do love her. Sometimes I feel hard and cold, so that I wouldn’t care if it were all ended. Sometimes I almost hate her. I want to start afresh—but I haven’t the courage. I know myself. If I were certain that I’d lost her, I should begin to idealize her as I did at first. God, if I could only forget!”Eight o’clock! Four more hours! At midnight the ship sailed.Teddy heard his father strike a match and settle back into his chair. In the quiet that followed, Teddy’s thoughts returned to the channels out of which they had been diverted.“But——”“Than you can help!” Hal leant forward with a strained expression. “You can’t help. You always remember. That’s the curse of it. The doors of the past won’t keep shut; they slam and they slam. They wake you up in the night; you can’t rest. You’re always creeping down the stairs and finding yourself in the rooms of old memories. Would you know her again if you saw her?”“Very true! Very true! Lefroy was lean and ’ungry. I know, ’cause I once rode with ’im in the same railway carriage.”His arm was still about her. Every few paces he stopped to kiss her. She patted his face and drew it close to hers. “You’re foolish,” she whispered. “You spoil me. You’re always nicest when I’ve been my worst.”She shook her head. canada goose ski canada goose ski “Shall we tell them, Princess?”For a time she was silent. It seemed to him that she was searching for a plausible motive. Then, “I think because I wanted to see a good man.”“Ah!” She gave a pleased little sigh. “When I choose to be fascinating—yes. D’you think the waiter would call me madam, if he could see me now? But tell me, do you believe in romance?”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 sighed, but her eyes did not open. canada goose ski “Do—do all boys have fathers?”“Kiss me now.”A door in the back half of the room opened. Hal and Vashti came in, walking near together. Vashti looked round Hal’s shoulder and called to Teddy, “Not much longer now. I’ll be with you in a moment.” Then they both seemed to forget him.With what guile Mrs. Sheerug answered the boys could only guess by the effect.He sat watching her as she pinned the lilies against her breast How pretty her hair was, with its reddish tinge like specks of gold shining through its blackness! And her ears—they were like pale petals enmeshed within her tresses.“I’m glad we got mad,” she whispered; “it’s made us real. It’s nice to be real sometimes. But I don’t know what to say to you—what to do to you. I haven’t played fair. At first I thought you were like all the rest. I know I’m responsible.”In spirit she was never absent She rose up crouching her chin against her shoulder and barricading her lips with her hand. He relived their many partings—the ecstasies, kisses, wavings down the stairs—those prolonged poignant moments when her tenderness had atoned for hours of coldness. She had become a habit with him—a part of him. His physical self cried out for her. It was knit with hers.

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As they crept up the harbor, he could no longer disguise his excitement. It nearly choked him. He seemed disembodied; he was a pair of eyes. His soul ran out before him. He felt sure she would be waiting for him. He saw nothing of the panting little tugs, which pulled and shoved the liner to her moorings. He hardly noticed the man-made precipices of New York, rising like altar-steps to a shrine of turquoise. He was straining his eyes toward the gaps in the dock-shed, white with clustered indistinguishable faces. One of them must be hers. It seemed wrong that, even at this distance, he should not be able to pick her out As they moved slowly alongside, he kept persuading himself that he had found her and waved furiously—only to realize that he had been mistaken. canada goose jacket canada “But I did mean my promise,” she assured Teddy. “Why, a year’s not long. Cheer up. Think of all the fun we’ll have writing letters. Harriet can’t have told you properly about marriage. One has to be very careful. One has to get a house and buy things for it. There are heaps of things to be bought when one gets married.”“It ought to be—— What was I thinking? I was wondering: could a girl make a man whom she liked very much believe that she loved him? Would he find her out?” canada goose jacket canada canada goose jacket canada “Don’t tell me.” He banged the door and settled himself beside her. “Life’s much more surprising when you don’t know where you’re going.” He laid the flowers in her lap. “For you. You won’t refuse them?” canada goose jacket canada In the midst of her high spirits she became serious. “It’s mean of me to leave you. If I’d known that it was only to see me that you’d sailed—— I couldn’t believe it—not even when you’d cabled. I ought to feel flattered. I shouldn’t think—shouldn’t think it’s often happened that a man came so far on ’spec.’”Something was moving. A shadow stole across his doorway. It was gone in an instant—gone so quickly that, between sleeping and waking, it might have been imagined. His heart was pounding.She jumped away, startled and angry. “What a fright you did give me, hiding and snatching at me like that.”“You must. Your poor little mother,” she murmured.“I don’t think you’re wasting time with me,” she said.He tried to talk. His monologue grew halting. He asked a question; she returned no answer. He ceased speaking to see if that would pique her and rouse response. She seemed to have divined his intention; he felt that, if he peeped behind her hand, he would find her laughing.She caught the boy to her breast. She was trembling all over and on the verge of tears. When she had climbed into the wagonette, with Ruddy seated beside her, and had lumbered slowly out of the farmyard, she left Teddy wondering: Why had she said “a good woman”? As though there was any doubt that little Desire would grow up good!Desire, riding shoulder-high, could see further than Teddy. “Oh, hurry. Be quick. He’s killing something. Let me down.”The cab halted; the window flew back and the doors opened of themselves. They stepped out on to the pavement. The little white gate was there, just as Vashti had said. A path led up, through snow as soft as cotton-wool, to a red-brick nest of a house. A look of warmth lay behind its windows. Plants, leaning forward to catch the light, pressed against the panes. A canary fluttered in a gilded cage like a captured ray of sun.“So I’m Meester Deek! You won’t call me Teddy. I knew you’d have to find a name for me.”Already she was slipping from him. The silver wood—had it ever existed? If it had, had they ever walked there? It seemed a dream created by his ardent fancy, too kind and generous for reality.“You’re going?”She played with his fingers idly, lifting them up and letting them fall, like soldiers marking time. “You manicure them now. You’ve learnt something by coming to America—— Your living!” She smiled. “It seems to come easily enough. I hear you talk about it, but I never see you working.”He found a florist’s and ordered a quantity of flowers.She smiled vaguely. “Then why for a woman? Only love could make it different. You believe in love at first sight. I don’t At least, I’m not sure about it.”“Perhaps it was——”“Yes.”He made a last effort to tempt her. “D’you remember the pool in the woodland—the place where we camped? You thought it would make you a boy. Perhaps, if you tried now——”She crossed her feet and resigned herself to the danger she had courted. “You’re spoiling a most glorious day; but I suppose it’s best to get things off one’s chest.” Then, in a composed, cool little voice, “Well?”“Yes. To Les Baux.”With the dying sun.”He brought to her the book he had written for her that it might tell her the things which his lips had left unsaid. After she had commenced it, she refused to see him until she had reached the end.“If he’s wise, he’s walking back to New York,” Vashti said; “but I think he’s outside, directing the driver.—We certainly were mad. I am tired.”“I’m really religious, Teddy. Won’t you trust me? Don’t you think that there must be some good in me when I can sing like that?” It was like a little child pleading with him. “I’ve tried to turn you back. Desire’s too young and I don’t think—— But you won’t be turned back; so let me help you. I don’t know much of what’s happened between you, but——”Mrs. Sheerug refused to be contradicted. She was cheerful, but emphatic. “If he never made a noise before, he will now. As soon as I’ve made Theo comfortable, I’ll come back to take care of you.”Presently she asked, “What did you do all yesterday, while I was horrid?”

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“I don’t know why I want you, unless——”The Princess.“A coward, but———”His grip on reality had loosened. There were times when he believed she had never existed. He was a child who had slept in a ring of the faeries. He had seen the little people steal out from brakes and hedges. All night In their spider-web and glow-worm raiment they had danced about him, caressing him with their velvet arms. The dawn had come; he sat up rubbing his eyes, to find himself forsaken. He would wake up in Eden Row presently to discover that all his ecstasies had been imagined.“I will be a boy,” she whispered rebelliously.

“But Teddy, I mean Theo, isn’t.”Sometimes he doubted whether he was as unhappy as he fancied. He searched through books to prove to himself that his case was by no means solitary—that it was the common lot of lovers. He became an admirer of the happy ending in novels. He sought for fiction-characters upon whose handling of similar situations he could pattern his conduct One writer informed him that the secret of success in love was to keep a woman guessing; another, that with blonde women a heated courting brought the best results, while with women of a darker complexion a little coldness paid excellently. All this was too calculating—too like diplomacy. He fell back on the advice of Madame Josephine: “Don’t judge—try to understand. When a good man tries to be fair, he’s unjust.” As an atonement for the disloyalty of his research, he sent Desire a needlessly large box of flowers. canada goose outerwear “Yes, but if everything had been happy always, there wouldn’t have been any story, Teddy. I know why you don’t like my loving Sir Launcelot: it’s because you’re a King Arthur yourself.”As they came down on to the promenade the waves heliographed to them. A warm south wind flapped against their faces. The air was full of voices, rising and falling and blending: ice-cream men shouting their wares; cabmen inviting hire; an evangelist, balancing on a chair and screaming “Redemption! Redemption!”; a comedian, dressed like a sultan and bawling breathlessly, “I’m the Emperor of Sahara, Tarara, Tarara”; the under-current chatter of conversation, and the laughing screams of girls as they stepped down from bathing huts and felt the first chill of the bubbling surf. Wriggling out like sea-serpents, their tails tethered to the land, were piers with swarms of insect-looking objects creeping along their backs. Gayety everywhere, and somewhere the man who knew how pleasure could be had without working! “By the sea with privacy,” Ruddy kept murmuring; the more remote their chances grew of finding him, the more certain they became that Duke Ninevah had a secret worth the knowing.The old pirate pretended to become suspicious that his wife was trying to lower his standards—trying to persuade him to paint the rubbish that would sell She protested her innocence. Long after Teddy had made his presence known the argument continued, half in banter, half in seriousness. Then it took the familiar turning which led to a discussion of finance.All this was spoken in the whisper of a conspirator lest Mr. Dak should be aroused. It was as though Horace had raised a mask, revealing behind his bored good-humor a face emaciated with longings. Teddy wanted to be angry—felt he ought to be angry; but he couldn’t. “I’d rather we didn’t discuss Desire,” he said coldly. “You see, my case is different from yours. I intend to marry her.”“Eh! What’s that?” The Roman nose appeared for an instant above The Pink ’Un and the lazy gray eyes twinkled. “I’m wearing ’em easy out of affection for a dear friend. No splendor without pain. I take the pain and leave him the splendor.”Seen from a distance as they approached her, she looked slight as a schoolgirl. Is was impossible to believe that she was really an old woman. She came hurrying towards them with one hand held out and the other pressed against her mouth. Not a word was said as her lost property was returned. The moment she had it, she walked to the side of the pier and gazed seawards, while both boys turned their backs. She was closing her vanity-case when she called to them.He closed the door and listened in the discreet silence. She was in her bedroom. She had made a great secret of her little nest. She had told him about the pictures on the walls, the Japanese garden in the window, and the queer things she saw from the window when she spied across the air-shaft on her neighbors. She had a child’s genius for disguising the commonplace with glamour. Of this the name she had given him, which was known to no one but her and himself, was an example. She made every hour that he had not shared with her bristle with mysteries by sly allusions to what had happened in it Her bedroom was a forbidden spot; she deigned to describe it to him and left his imagination to do the rest. In his lover’s craving to picture her in all her environments—to be in ignorance of nothing that concerned her—he had often begged her to let him peep across the threshold. She had invariably denied him, putting on her most shocked expression.Obviously she wasn’t going to give herself away all at once. In that she had been wise, for, though he had wanted her to, he knew that if she had, she would have lowered her value.His father seated himself on the bed, with one leg curled under him. “Hulloa, what’s this? Been losing your heart to Mrs. Sheerug? She’s got a husband. It won’t do, old man.” canada goose outerwear To be twice blamed for a fault which had not been of his own choosing was too much. There was anger as well as a hint of tears in his voice when he answered, “My name isn’t Gubbins. And it wasn’t an idiot question. She made me ask her something, so I asked her that.”He knew at once that it was the truth that she had stated. How few girls would have said it! They had finished their coffee. She had been very pressing that he should smoke a cigar. He had just lighted one, and was comfortably wondering what they should do next; a drive in the country perhaps, and then back to the tall city lying spectral in moonlight. She consulted her wrist-watch and pushed back her chair. “How about the taxi?” canada goose outerwear He knelt at her side, pressing her hand.He was thinking quickly.“You babies!” Mrs. Sheerug shifted her spectacles higher up her nose. “You know you never pay. It doesn’t matter whether you play for millions or farthings. Why don’t you work?”“Algiers?”“It doesn’t matter.”He set about making inquiries. It was a ruined city in the hills he discovered. Oh, yes, there had been several books written about it and innumerable poems. It had been a nest of human eagles once—the home of troubadours. It was the place where the Queens of Beauty and the Courts of Love had started. It was said that if a lover could persuade a reluctant girl to go there with him, she would prove no longer reluctant It was only a superstition; of course Monsieur understood that Monsieur hurried to purchase a guide-book to Les Baux. While he waited among the rhododendrons for Desire, he read it Then he looked up time-tables and found that the pleasantest way to go was from Arles, and that from there one had to drive a half day’s journey.CHAPTER VI—DESIRE’S MOTHERHitching the strap of his satchel higher, he smiled. These thoughts were foolish; they had come to him because he had been saying good-by. They always came when he felt the hand of Change upon his shoulder. canada goose outerwear Her arms flew up and tugged at him passionately. Her tears were on his cheeks. For the first time she kissed him.When no answer was returned, she began to sing provocatively:So she’d been out with another man! While he had been waiting, almost counting the seconds, she’d been out with another man! They’d been driving through the darkness together. Perhaps they’d been making love. No wonder she hadn’t answered his letters or cables. “Come to America if you really care.” She had said it lightly and forgotten. It had meant nothing to her. And here he’d been finding delicate excuses to explain what was no more than indifference. canada goose outerwear “Will they really be famous?”Teddy was keenly sensitive to the precariousness of his situation. He was aware that, if he confessed himself, there wasn’t a living soul would take him seriously. Even Dearie and Jimmie Boy, to whom he told almost everything, would laugh at him. It made him feel very lonely; it was bard to think that you had to be laughed at just because you were young. Of course ordinary boys, who were going to be greengrocers or policemen when they grew up, didn’t fall in love; but boys who already felt the shadow of future greatness brooding over them might. In fact, such boys were just the sort of boys to pine away and die if their love went unrequited—the sort of fine-natured boys who, whether love came to them at nine or twenty, could love only once.“If you would only let me kiss you,” he pleaded.He had no idea where she was taking him, and he didn’t care. All places were alike, so long as he was alone with her. They walked shoulder to shoulder, their arms just touching. Sometimes in crossing a road they drew apart and then, as if to apologize for their brief aloofness, came together with a little bump on the farther pavement. They were embarrassed, and glad to be embarrassed. When their silences had lasted too long, they stole furtive glances at each other; when their eyes met, they smiled archly.“Little boy,” he said, in his squeaky voice, “a very important letter has—— Ah, there it is. To be sure! Right at your feet, boy. Make yourself tall and I’ll lean down for it. There, we’ve managed it. Thank you.”“And don’t miss the little mole on the back; mother used to say that it told her when I had been bad.”

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What right had this man to watch her? Why should she wish to have him watch? canada goose for sale While the days slipped by unnumbered, he tried to persuade himself that Desire’s difficulty of winning made her the more worthy of his worship. He often thought of his father’s picture, buried beneath dusty canvasses in the stable at Eden Row. It was like that. He had stumbled into a Garden Enclosed, basking in lethargy, where Love peered in through the locked gate, and all things waited and slumbered. Then came the awakening, shattering in its earnestness.Teddy rose. “I’ve stayed rather long.”“It’s Teddy. Don’t you remember?”Loitering along pale streets with the immensity of night brooding over them, the world became wholly theirs and she again the haunting dream of his boyhood. There was only the blind white eye of the moon to watch them. Reluctantly they would come back to the illumined cave which was fated to engulf her.

canada goose for sale In the lumber-room, where so many happy hours had been spent, they sat with their faces pressed against the window.Almost touching the horse’s nose, two men, a fat and a lean one, had darted out from the shadow of the pavement They were shouting at something that sat balanced, humped like a sack, on the spiked palings which divided the river from the road. They had all but reached it; it screamed, shot erect, and jumped. There was a sullen splash, then silence and the gurgling of the river as the ripples closed slowly over it.She nodded.“No. For her. She’s young, Teddy, and she asks so much—so many things that life’ll never give her. She’s got to learn. She may keep you waiting a long, long while yet.”During the weeks of enforced friendship the physical bond between them had been growing more compelling.“So you were saying ‘No’ sweetly by keeping quiet.”She was silent. They moved together as in a trance towards the door. He was remembering what she had said it would mean if she kissed him without his asking. He was hoping. She accompanied him to the head of the stairs. Suddenly his will-power gave way. “I’m not going. You don’t think I’m going after to-night? You’ve shown me so much that—— Desire, I can’t live without you.” canada goose for sale “Hardly any one, truth and honest” She finished the last button and winked at him solemnly. “Here have I been ready since eleven, sending you cables and whole gardens of flowers.” She burst out laughing: “I’m glad you don’t drizzle. Come on, I’m hungry for the sun.” canada goose for sale “When you came to look for us!” Teddy leant forward. “Did you come to look for us? Who sent you?”“Any ideas this morning, partner—any ideas that you don’t want yourself?”Teddy sprang to his feet, clenching his fists. “You put her down.” His voice was low and unsteady.He looked round the room; the amber had faded to the silver of twilight. In vases and bowls the flowers he had sent her glimmered like memories and threw out fragrance.In the room which overlooked the Hudson, Vashti was playing. For a minute Teddy had a vision of how he had first seen her with Hal; only times had changed. The man who bent across her shoulder now was Mr. Dak. It was a child’s song that she was singing, about a lady who was devoted to a poodle-dog which died, and how she fretted and fretted. The last verse leapt out of melancholy into merriment,His father seated himself on the bed, with one leg curled under him. “Hulloa, what’s this? Been losing your heart to Mrs. Sheerug? She’s got a husband. It won’t do, old man.”She clapped her hands. “Oh, I hope I shall.” canada goose for sale “Desire, come here, darling. Say thank you to the boy for saving you from the lion.”“You don’t want her to be an actress?”He was like a man turned to stone. She listened for any sound of footsteps; she might need help. Except for the sunshine, the lapping of the river and the careless singing of birds, the whole world was empty.The scenery was becoming momentarily more wild. The horse was laboring in its steps. On either side white bowlders hung as if about to tumble. The narrow road wound up through the loneliness in sweeping curves. Hawks were dipping against the sky. Not a tree was in sight—only wild lavender and straggling furze.“Well, I never!” she whispered. “Wot liberties ter taik wiv a lady!”“But it’s my best work. What’s got into your head, Dearie, to make you so prudish? You might as well object to all Romney’s Lady Hamiltons because she——”“Ride on a horse!” Mrs. Sheerug laughed gently; she was remembering. “Ride on a horse! No, he didn’t, Teddy. You see, he was called Sheerug as well as Alonzo. The Sheerug rather spoils the Alonzo, doesn’t it?”His pigeons and the wide clean thoughts they gave him, kept his mind from morbid physical inquiries. The school he attended in Eden Row was conducted by an old Quaker, a man whose gentle religion shamed the boys of shameful conversations.Seated on the couch before the fire, their heads nearly touching, they spoke earnestly. Perhaps they didn’t know how far their voices carried. Perhaps they were too self-absorbed to notice. Perhaps they didn’t care. Hal held her hand, opening and closing the fingers, and stooping sometimes to kiss the tips of them.Teddy understood now what Horace had meant by calling her “a slave of freedom.” All this gayety which he had envied, which had made him wish that he was more of a Sir Launcelot and less of a King Arthur—it was nothing but the excitement of skating over the treacherous thin ice of sex.Across the fields, with his nose to the ground, came another fugitive. As he caught sight of them, he expressed his joy in a series of sharp yaps.“Hal?”Horace attempted comfort. “You’ll feel better when you’ve had breakfast.”The ship’s eyes were on them. His arms went about her.

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“I will be a boy,” she whispered rebelliously.“Shall we breakfast here or at my hotel?”He bent forward, smiling into her eyes, grateful for the chance. “There’s so much to tell. All day I’ve been making discoveries. I’ve found out that you’re half-a-dozen persons—not just the one person whom I thought you, Desire. Sometimes you’re Joan of Arc, with dreams in your eyes and your hands lying idly in your lap. Sometimes you’re Nell Gwynn, utterly unshockable and up to any naughtiness. That’s the way you are now—the way I like you best. And sometimes you’re a faery’s child, a Belle Dame Sans Merci, a beautiful witch-girl, who won’t come into my life and won’t let me forge.” cheap canada goose coats His heart was in his throat. He paced up and down in a vain endeavor to keep it quiet. Gulls, skimming the foam with shrill cries, seemed her messengers. Through the pearl-colored haze white shipping passed noiselessly. The sun streamed a welcome.He found himself in a large sunlit room in a riot of disorder—whether with packing or unpacking it was difficult to tell. Evidently some one had gone through a storm of shopping. Frocks were strewn in every direction; opera-cloaks and evening-gowns lay on the floor, on the bed, on the backs of chairs. Hats were half out of milliners’ boxes. Shoes and slippers lay jumbled in a pile in a suit-case. It was fitting that he and Desire should meet again in a hired privacy, like transients.

“Men are rotters—all men except you, Meester Deek. Poor little Fluffy! Horace isn’t at all nice to her.”“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.”Teddy knew that he would have to ask her something; so he asked her a question, but not the question. “Who is Hal?”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.”All this was spoken in the whisper of a conspirator lest Mr. Dak should be aroused. It was as though Horace had raised a mask, revealing behind his bored good-humor a face emaciated with longings. Teddy wanted to be angry—felt he ought to be angry; but he couldn’t. “I’d rather we didn’t discuss Desire,” he said coldly. “You see, my case is different from yours. I intend to marry her.”“I should never let you do that If I did——” She bent towards him flippantly, lowering her voice. “If I did, d’you know what I’d do next? I should marry you.” The curl against her neck shook in emphatic affirmative. “I’m not going to be La Belle Dame whatever you call her any more. I’m going to try to be Nell Gwynn always. You must tell me next time I’m that La Belle person, and I’ll stop it.”“You look awfully tired.” cheap canada goose coats “I’ll help you splash,” she told Alonzo, “but I won’t move out of Orchid Lodge.”“I thought I’d propose to you the moment you woke and we’d get married.” cheap canada goose coats “Oh, well—— But before other people, I wish you wouldn’t ignore me so obviously. It makes me humiliated.”. “That’s good for you.”For her it was a strange situation, as absurd as it was pathetic. For a moment she tried not to take him seriously, then she glanced down at the eager face, the Eton suit, the clasped hands. In his childish world the make-believe was real. For him the faery tale, enacted for her own diversion, had been a promise. She felt angry with herself—as angry as a sportsman who, intending to miss, has brought down a songbird. Playing at love was her recreation. She couldn’t help it—it was in her blood: her approach to everything masculine was by way of fascination. She felt herself a goddess; it was life to her to be worshiped. All men’s friendships had to be love affairs or else they were insipid; on her side she pledged herself to no more than friendship. Not to be adored piqued her.When the tour had first been planned it had included Ruddy; but at the last moment Ruddy had joined a pierrot-troupe, leaving Teddy to set off by himself. That vacant place at his side reproached him; a two-seater is so obviously meant for two persons. He had told himself faery-tales about how he might fill it. Sometimes he had invented a companion for himself—a girl with gray eyes and bronze-black hair. She seemed especially real to him when night had fallen and the timid shadows of lovers pressed back into the hedges as his lamps discovered them on the road ahead.Vashti met his eyes quietly. “My baby-girl told me something. But how did you discover our address?”Seating herself on the floor, with her legs curled about her and her ankles peeping out from under her skirt, she began to wrap up presents. “Please be nice,” she implored him in a little voice, “because I really do like you. Sit down here beside me and put your finger on the knots, so that I can tie them.”In the door a young man was standing—a very stolid and sensible young man. He wore oiled boots and corduroy breeches; he was coatless; his sleeves were rolled up and, despite the cold, his shirt was unbuttoned at the neck. In an anxious manner Mr. Dak was explaining to him the situation. As the others came up he was introduced as Sam; he at once began to speak of breakfast.Strange. There must be some reason. She would tell him when they met. Should he call her up? Or go to her house and camp till she came back? He shook his head. His pride warned him that that wouldn’t be policy. The next sign must come from her. And then he wondered, was it right to have either pride or policy when you were in love? It was pride and policy that had made him waste his chances on that night drive from Glastonbury.It was an awkward question.On the drive back in the cab, all through breakfast and as they sat before the fire through the lazy morning, they gossiped of the things of secondary importance—his work, the Sheerugs, his impressions of America. Of the girl in America they did not talk. His mother’s eyes asked questions, which his eyes avoided. His father, man-like, showed no curiosity. He sat comfortably puffing away at his pipe, feeling in his velvet-coat for matches, and combing his fingers through his shaggy hair, just as if he had no suspicions that anything divisive had happened. It was only when an inquisitive silence had fallen that he showed his sympathy, chasing up a new topic to divert their interest. Desire was not mentioned that day, nor the next; even when her letters began to arrive, Teddy’s reticence was respected. For that he was infinitely thankful. The ordeal of explaining and accepting pity would have been more than he could have borne. Pity for himself would have meant condemnation of her conduct. In the raw state of his heart, neither would have been welcome.He was amused; he had almost been persuaded that he had stumbled on the supernatural. Glancing in, he saw the orchestra gathering up their old-fashioned horns and wind-instruments. The curtain bad been partly raised; slipping from under it the performers, still in costume, were climbing down and mingling with the thinning audience. For the moment the audience seemed the unreal people and the performers the people of his world.As the door closed, she extended her arms to him, then buried her face in her hands. When the sound of his footsteps had died out utterly, she followed.“Good-by, dear little day; you’ve been a sort of honeymoon.” She spied out of the comers of her eyes at Teddy with an impish raising of her brows. It was as though she were asking him whether the day need end.“Won’t you sing it? The whole meaning of life and everything is in the last two Unes.” cheap canada goose coats Mr. Kingston Dak was a little grasshopper of a man. He had lemon-colored hair, white teeth, extremely well-kept hands and was nearly forty. His littleness was evidently a sore point with him, for the heels of his shoes were built up like a woman’s. He held himself erectly and when others were seated he usually remained standing. He seemed to be always in search of something to lean against which would enable him to tiptoe unobtrusively and to add another inch to his stature. He was clean-shaven, and in appearance shy and boyish; he would have looked excellently well in clerical attire. By hobby he was an occultist; by profession a stockbroker. His chief topic of conversation was the superiority of Mohammedanism to Christianity.“It’s splendid of you, Teddy, to have saved so much.”The crowd was pouring out from the gates and melting away by twos and twos. Each couple seemed to walk in its own separate world, walled in by memories of tender things done and said. As they passed beneath lamps, the girls drew a little apart from their companions; but as they entered long intervals of twilit gloom their propriety relaxed.That boy, who was sole witness to this quarrel, was very small—far smaller than his age. In the big walled garden of Orchid Lodge he felt smaller than usual. Everything was strange; even the whispered sigh of dead leaves was different as they swam up and swirled in eddies. In his own garden, only six walls distant, their sigh was gentle as Dearie’s footstep—but something had happened to Dearie; Jimmie Boy had told him so that morning. “Teddy, little man, it’s happened again”—the information had left Teddy none the wiser. All he knew was that Jane had told the milkman that something was expected, and that the milkman had told the cook at Orchid Lodge. The result had been the intrusion at breakfast of the remarkable Mrs. Sheerug.“Time for that on the way to the station.”She tried to remove it; he stayed her. They sat in silence. It was very much as though they had quarreled—the queerest way to give and receive a present. cheap canada goose coats She held up a finger. “You’re starting again.”Teddy closed his book and leant out, bridging the distance. “Is she? Where is she now?”

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She didn’t speak again till she had satisfied herself, by means of the pocket-mirror, that no irreparable ruin had befallen her pretty face since the last inspection. Her action seemed prompted by childish curiosity rather than by vanity. It was as though when she saw her own beauty, she saw it with amazement as belonging to another person. It made him think of the first sight he had had of her: a small girl kneeling beside the edge of a fountain and stooping to kiss her own reflection. He remembered her clasped hands and dismay when her lips had disturbed the water’s surface, and her image had vanished.There was a tang of autumn in the air. Leaves on trees began to have a brittle look. Everything shone: trolley-lines, windows, the slender height of sky-scrapers. It was a wide day—just the day for adventures.Footsteps in the passage! Absalom swayed among the branches, making a futile effort to free himself. The door behind the tapestry was being opened. Teddy sank his head deep into the pillows, hoping that his disobedience to orders would pass unobserved.“I’m not thinking. I’m angry. Mrs. Sheerug’s a dear; I know that as well as you. But she wants to reform me. She makes me wild when she says, ‘You have your mother’s laugh,’ as though being like my mother damned me. And she said something horrid about Fluffy and about the way I’ve been brought up.”“You’ll see.”“What I said when I buttoned your cloak about you?” She made her eyes innocently wide. “Did you do that? That was kind.”

canada goose store new york “You may take a nice Christmas kiss, if that’s what you’re after. Just one.”“But you can’t run away forever.” He leant across the table and took her hand. “One day you’ll want those big and terrible things and—and a man to protect you. They won’t come to you then, perhaps.”Night fell. When it was time to hood the lamp, the stranger still kept them separate by his gallantry in inviting her to change comers with him, that she might steady herself while she slept by slipping her arms through the loops which he had hung from the baggage-rack.She produced the key from her vanity-case. He took it from her and slipped it into the latch. Only Twinkles was at home. For Twinkles she mustered the energy for a display of fun-making. Romping with the dog revived her.She ceased struggling; she was tremendously interested in herself.She did not seem to hear him. He touched her hand, repeating his question. For answer she turned back to the cover-design. “Isn’t she wonderful?”“To Paris.”When she saw him hesitating, she added, “You’re thinking of me. No one need know. We could meet in Paris.” canada goose store new york For her it was a strange situation, as absurd as it was pathetic. For a moment she tried not to take him seriously, then she glanced down at the eager face, the Eton suit, the clasped hands. In his childish world the make-believe was real. For him the faery tale, enacted for her own diversion, had been a promise. She felt angry with herself—as angry as a sportsman who, intending to miss, has brought down a songbird. Playing at love was her recreation. She couldn’t help it—it was in her blood: her approach to everything masculine was by way of fascination. She felt herself a goddess; it was life to her to be worshiped. All men’s friendships had to be love affairs or else they were insipid; on her side she pledged herself to no more than friendship. Not to be adored piqued her. canada goose store new york Teddy sprang to his feet, clenching his fists. “You put her down.” His voice was low and unsteady.“When I say I’m the plot, I mean I gave him the story. I told it to him in a punt at Pangbourne this summer. It’s about a woman called October, who’s come to the October of her beauty, but has spring hidden in her heart. She’d loved a man excessively once, when she was young and generous; and he hadn’t valued her love. After that she determined to wear armor, to keep her dreams locked away in her heart and to leave it to the men to do the loving. She becomes an actress, like me. Almost autobiography! At last, when she realizes that her popularity depends on her beauty and she hears the feet of the younger generation climbing after her—at last he comes, the one wearing a smoke-blue corded velvet, trimmed with gray-squirrel fur at the sleeves and collar. Her hat was the gray breast of a bird and sat at a slant across her forehead. There was a flush of color in her cheeks. Again the beauty-patch had wandered; it was on the left of her chin now. As he watched, he felt the lack of something; then he knew what it was.“But can’t I have any clothes at all—not even my shirt?”No answer.Jane gaped at him. As he hurried down the steps, she began to ask questions. He shook his head, “No time.”“Take the nice gentleman in there,” she said, “while mistress makes herself beautiful. Mistress can’t allow the same gentleman, however pleasant, to come into her bedroom twice.”He felt humiliated—unworthy to walk beside her. No wonder she’d smiled at his ideas of love! He’d make it his life’s work, if need be, to teach her what love really meant. He vowed to himself that whatever she did, no matter how compromising the circumstances, for the future he would give her the benefit of the doubt He would never again distrust her. He would keep that pathetically cheap little photograph and gaze at it as a poignant warning.She laid her cool cheek against his, trying to give comfort for what she had done. Their bodies grew hushed, listen-ing for each other. The wood, with its snow-paved aisles and arcades of twisted turnings, became a white cathedral in, which their hearts beat as one and worshiped.From the steps of the apartment-house they hailed a hansom, and drove through the winking night to the Claremont. “‘So, honey, jest play in your own backyard,” she sang. When she found that she couldn’t intimidate him, she started on another fragment, filling in the gaps with humming when she forgot the words: canada goose store new york “Poor old Bones, she didn’t mean to frighten him. She wouldn’t do anything to hurt him for the world.”CHAPTER XX—THE POND IN THE WOODLANDHe had never felt her arms about him, but such lines seemed the haunting echo of his own yearning. They gave tongue to the emotions which the dull ache of his heart had made voiceless.Teddy gave himself away completely. “But to live on her money! Oh, I don’t think I’d like that.”“Meester Deek, you were never in love before, were you?” canada goose store new york “Best be getting indoors,” he said.When she was gone, he turned out his light. He knew she would be watching for its glow against the trees. If she did not see it, she would believe him sleeping and her mind would be at rest. Then he seated himself by the open window in the darkness.