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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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He drove out of the park, passing by her house. Of her there was no sign. He wondered what they were doing in there. Was the man with the blue eyes taking his place and helping to strap her trunks? Or was he making love to Fluffy, while Desire looked on wistfully and wished—wished what he himself was wishing?“What d’you bet?” demanded the fat man. canada goose womens jacket Savoy Hotel,Teddy stopped. He realized that he was spying. He knew at last what Mr. Yaffon had been doing: burning up his dead regrets. The letter had already slipped from his hand, when the ivy behind him commenced to rustle. The top of a ladder appeared above the wall, followed by Mr. Yaffon’s head. It sounded as though the parrot had come to life. canada goose womens jacket

They had traveled for fully twenty minutes in silence; to Teddy it had seemed as many hours. The patches of waste-land with hoardings, advertising chewing-gums and New York plays, were growing less frequent. A sea-look was softening the blueness of the sky. The greenness by the roadside remained unmarred for longer and longer stretches. They skirted a little bay, where power-boats lay tethered to buoys and a white-winged yacht was spreading sail. They panted through a town of scattered wooden houses, cool with lawns and shadowy with trees. Then they came to a sandy turf-land, across which a horseman distantly galloped, leaping ditches and hurdles. canada goose womens jacket The night has a thousand eyes,Humiliation was enervating his talent. He was losing faith in his own worth—the faith so necessary to an artist. Desire said that it was “soft” of him to want her to be proud of him. Perhaps it was. But if she ought not to be proud of him, who ought? canada goose womens jacket “Oh, hang Fluffy! She’s always intruding.”“Not your fault,” she laughed. “You’d have done it often and often, if I’d allowed you. I guess you wish it was always snowing.” canada goose womens jacket Farmer Joseph’s place was empty at breakfast next morning. It was market-day, and he had made an early start for town. Teddy pressed Desire’s foot beneath the table; when Mrs. Sarie wasn’t looking, he nodded towards the window and his lips formed the word, “To-day.”“Things like that——” He broke off, staring into the darkness. “Things like that make a boy frightened, when first they’re told him.” She drew his head down to her shoulder. He lay there without speaking, feeling sheltered for the moment. All the threats of manhood, the fears that he might fail, the terror lest he might miss the highest things like Hal, drew away into the distance.Though he sat for long hours at a stretch, he accomplished laborious results. His attention refused to concentrate. He was always thinking of her: the men who might be with her in his absence; the things she had said and done; the things he had said to her, and which might have been said better; her tricks of gesture and shades of intonation. Her very faults endeared themselves in retrospect He coveted the least happy of the hours he had spent in her company.“You can. You’re going to. Here, let’s try it on—There!”Mrs. Sheerug, not sure whether she was being praised or blamed, shook her head with dignity. “You’re trying to let me down lightly, Mr. Gurney.”“Desire, let’s speak the truth. We promised always to be honest You say you went with Fluffy to be alone; you know you didn’t. Fluffy’s never alone—she’s a queen bee with the drones always buzzing round her. You went away to get rid of me, and for the fun of seeing whether you could recall me.”“Madame Jodrell’s apartment?—I want to speak to Miss Desire.—Oh, no, I’m sure she’s not sleeping. You’re mistaken.” He laughed nervously. “This is Mr. Gurney. She asked me to ring her up at eleven.”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.CHAPTER IV—HAUNTEDHe burst out laughing. She was jealous; she cared for him. He had infected her with his own uncertainty.Balked of his prey, the lion halted. No one spoke. In the unaccounted-for silence the lion lost his fierceness. Throwing back the rug, he looked up. Teddy found himself gazing into a face he recognized.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.“Ready? For what?”“Lost my purse, Pauline,” Vashti pouted. “I couldn’t pay my fare, so had to drive home. The cabman’s waiting.” Pauline had been watching the strange little boy with unfriendly eyes. “If you please, mam, he’s here.” She sank her voice. Teddy caught the last words, “In the drawing-room, playing with Miss Desire.”“Something to talk about together,” he said.“But that wasn’t serious.”His throat was choking. He knew that the moment he heard his own voice his eyes would brim over. But he was getting to an end of the list of first things—getting to an age when it wasn’t manly to cry just because the soul was stirred. So he bit his lip and kept silent.She did not stir.“Don’t speak. I was remembering. It pains, and yet it’s good to remember—sometimes, Teddy.”It was nearly twelve. He was torn between his anxiety to see her and his shyness at intruding. If he had had only her to face, he would have gone to Euston; but she’d be surrounded by friends. When it was too late, he cursed his lack of enterprise.

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“What on earth!”“Not there,” she reproved him; “that isn’t done either. Bring a chair.”“I’m not used to a good many of the things we’re doing. I’m trying to save you expense. And I don’t think it’s at all nice of you to lose your temper.” buy canada goose in canada “In her room getting ready.”“Perhaps,” she nodded. “Coming back to England after all those years did make me think of you. But how does the whole poem go? Can’t you repeat it?”

At the station he searched in vain for an empty carriage. At last he had to enter one which was already occupied. Their companion was a French naval officer, who had a slight acquaintance with English, of which he was exceedingly proud. He informed them that he was going to Marseilles to join his ship; since Marseilles was several hours beyond Avignon, all hope that they would have any privacy was at an end. They had been in crowds and public places ever since they had met; now this stranger insisted on joining in their conversation. He addressed himself almost exclusively to Desire; under the flattering battery of his attentions she grew animated. Finding himself excluded, Teddy looked out of the window at the pollarded trees and flying country. He felt like the dull and superseded husband of a Guy de Maupassant story.She rested her hand upon his arm and looked up at him timidly with an expression that was more than pity. The leaves of the park fluttered and the flakes of sunlight fell.“I’m not.”Teddy grabbed his shoulder fiercely. “You shan’t see her. We’ll stay just as far away as——”“This is Janice Audrey, Desire’s friend—Fluffy. Desire’s too shy to phone herself, so I—— She’s here at my elbow. She says that she’s not shy any longer and she’ll speak with you herself.”“Very true! Very true! Lefroy was lean and ’ungry. I know, ’cause I once rode with ’im in the same railway carriage.”“Because——”Then he drove to Gatti’s for breakfast and a general tidy-up. Something was the matter with the mirrors this morning. He saw himself with humble displeasure. Until he had met Desire, he had felt perfectly contented with his appearance; he had found nothing in it at which to take offense. But now he began to have a growing sense of injury against the Almighty. As he sat in the mirrored room, waiting for his meal to be served, his reflections watched him from half-a-dozen angles. They seemed to be saying to him, “Poor chap! May as well face up to the fact. This is how you look; and you expect her to love you.”Here he was secretly engaged to Vashti and threatened by many unknown rivals. He didn’t know her surname and he didn’t know her address. He had to find her; when he found her he wasn’t sure what he ought to do with her. But find her he must. Four days had passed since she had accepted his hand. If he were not to lose her, he must certainly get into communication with her. How? To make the most discreet inquiries of so magic a person as Mrs. Sheerug would be to tell her everything. If she knew everything, she might not want him in her house, for she believed that he had feigned illness solely out of fondness for herself. The only other person to whom he could turn was Mr. Sheerug, with whom already he shared one guilty secret; but from this house of lightning arrivals and departures Mr. Sheerug had vanished—vanished as completely as if he had mounted on a broomstick and been whisked off into thin air. Teddy did not discover this till lunch.While he recovered himself, she did the talking. “I’m not the dearest, sweetest anything; you don’t see straight. Some day you’ll put on your spectacles. You’ll see too much that’s bad then. That’s what Horace has done.—He sailed for England this morning.” buy canada goose in canada “No need to, unless you’re in a hurry. There’s plenty of room; we’ll be glad to have you. But if you must go, there’s a station ten miles distant; I can get the sleigh out.”“Five pounds, Gubbins.” She rose from her chair and went back to her dishes. “Not a penny less. I knows wot I’m talkin’ abart My ma wuz a queen, p’raps; ter h’offer a lady less would be a h’insult.”He helped to select the rosebuds, orchids and violets that were to lie against her breast It gave him a comforting sense of nearness to her. When the man’s back was turned he stooped to catch their fragrance and brushed his lips against their petals. Perhaps she might do the same, and her lips would touch the flowers where his had touched. By subtler words than language they would explain to her his love. When she landed in that far-away New York, he would be with her, for the flowers would have kept his memory fresh.“Here, I won’t have that.” Desire spoke with a hint of jealousy. She drew nearer so that their shoulders were touching. “Nobody’ll know us. Don’t let’s be misers. I’ll take your arm,” she whispered.That was the nearest she ever came to explaining her relations with Duke Nineveh. She liked to forget him when Teddy was present. It was the ideality of the boy that appealed to her. She wanted to give wisdom to his sentiment, to forewarn his courage and to save him from disappointment It was a strange task for a woman with her record—a woman who had lived garishly, and was remembered for the careers she had ruined. Little by little she drew from him the story of Vashti, and later of Desire.“Just a little. About Fluffy. You don’t even know her We were stupid to quarrel.”He could imagine the mischief that had crept into her gray eyes as she had listened to whatever Hal had told her. Why didn’t she send for him?“I’m sorry, sir. I wonder she didn’t tell you. You must have spokes with her the last minute before she left. She caught the nine o’clock boat-train from Charing Cross to Dover.” buy canada goose in canada “Had no lunch!” Teddy spoke in the tones of one to whom a missed meal spelled tragedy.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. buy canada goose in canada buy canada goose in canada And there was another memory: how, after playing at knights and ladies, she had tried to make him declare that she was beautiful. “Do you think I’m beautiful, Teddy?” And he, intent on keeping her vanity hungry, “You have beautiful hands.”

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Mr. Gurney turned helplessly to Teddy. “And I meant to flatter her. In a worthless way they’re good. I was trying not to tell her the worthless part of it. Believe I’ve hurt her feelings, and after all her kindness—— I’m horribly sorry.”“Why shouldn’t I? It’s a little brooch or somethings isn’t it? Let’s wait till Christmas Eve, anyway—till the day after to-morrow.”“Not even your shirt. She won’t see you, old man; in the picture she’s looking in the other direction. And as for the real live lady, we’ll paint you when she’s not on hand.”They came to a wood—an enchanted place of maple and silver birch. The squirrel’s granary was full; there was no sound of life. It was a sylvan Pompeii frozen in its activities by the avalanche from the clouds. Trees stood stiffly, like arrested dancers, sheathed in their scabbards of burnished ice. Boughs hung heavy with snow blossoms. Scrub-oak and berries of winter-green wrought mosaics of red and brown on the silver flooring. Over all was the coffined stillness of death. Here and there a solitary leaf shone more scarlet, like the resurrection hope of a lamp kept burning in the hollow of a shrine. It was a forsaken temple of broken arches. Summer acolytes, with their flower-faces, no longer fidgeted on the altar-steps. The choir of birds had fled. The sun remained as priest and sole worshiper. Night and morning he raised the host to the wintry tinkling of crystal bells. Down a far vista, as they plunged deeper, their attention was held by a steady brightness—a pond which glowed like a stained-glass window. By its withered sedges they sat down.

“Never.”She refused to look at him. With her chin tucked in the palm of her hand, she gazed listlessly to where the dancers whirled and glided. When she spoke, her voice sounded tired, as if with long contending.“No, but I have a friend——”Traffic was growing thick about them. They came to a crossing where a policeman held up his hand. Through the panes misted over by their breath, they watched the crawling caravan of carts and buses. In the sudden cessation from motion it seemed to Teddy that the eyes of the world were gazing in on them. “A little boy and a grown lady!” they were saying. “He wants to be her husband!” And then they laughed. Not till they were traveling again did he pick up his courage.When his father entered Teddy was eating his breakfast propped up in bed, balancing a tray on his humped-up legs.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.She slanted her eyes at him. “Are you? See if you can.”“I’ll try to be up early,” she promised. “We might even breakfast together. It’s the only meal we haven’t shared.”“Go on.”She shook her head. “It would be a lie.” Chilliwack Bomber Jacket Red Womens Canada Goose cheap When he had seen the luggage put on, he jumped in beside her—really beside her, for she sat well out of the corner.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.Teddy felt himself a traitor. His father had had an inspiration—that accounted for Jane’s suspicions and for anything awkward that had occurred. It was always when his father’s soul groped nearest heaven that his earthly manners were at their worst. Odd! Teddy couldn’t understand it; a person like Jane, who wasn’t even related, could understand it still less. But he had let himself sink to Jane’s level. If he had wanted to confess, he couldn’t have told precisely what it was that he had dreaded. So in reply to all coaxing he hid his face deeper in the shoulder of the velvet jacket. Its smoky, varnishy, familiar smell gave him comfort: it seemed to forgive him without words.Waving and waving, he watched her from the deck. Now he lost her; again he saw her where raised screens in the sheds made golden port-holes. She raced along the dock, as with bands playing the Christmas ship stole out. Now that it was too late, she hoarded every moment. Beneath a lamp, leaning out through the drift of snowflakes, she fluttered a scarf that she had torn from her throat It was the last glimpse he had of her. A Goddess of Liberty she seemed to him; a slave of freedom, Horace would have said. Chilliwack Bomber Jacket Red Womens Canada Goose cheap “What next?”“Where’s the good of saying ‘Am I?’ You know you are. What’s the matter? Jealous?”He looked confused. “Not unless you want—— Not until I’m well.” Chilliwack Bomber Jacket Red Womens Canada Goose cheap She stared into his eyes with her old suspicion—the veiled stare, half hostile, which a girl gives a man when she fears that he is going to kiss her.“One never forgets. There’s always a Cynara. One may love twenty times, but betwixt your lips and the lips of the latest woman there’s always the memory of the first ghostly rapture. You seek Cynara to the end of life; but if you met her again, you would not find her.”He eyed the windows furtively, hoping to catch her peering out. He commenced to tinker with his engine to give himself an excuse for delaying. Why hadn’t he accepted her breakfast invitation? Without her he felt utterly desolate. Chilliwack Bomber Jacket Red Womens Canada Goose cheap He caught her to him. “Give me your lips,” he panted.“Something I made especially for you; I’ve never given it to anybody else.”“You are dear and funny,” she said. “Where d’you come from?”It was on the tip of his tongue to say that in her case it wasn’t necessary. Instead he asked: “Do you do that with Tom? Does he appreciate it?”He was seized with panic. They might have gone to the Brevoort, expecting to say good-by to him there. He rushed back.. No one had inquired for him. The laughter of merry-makers in the white-mirrored dining-room was a mockery. He hid himself in his room upstairs—his room which would be a stranger’s to-morrow.“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.”“That’s all. But you see, I’ve got nothing now except what I earn. And when my mind’s distracted—— It’s—— You don’t mind my saying it, do you? It’s waiting for you that’s done it. My power seems gone. If only I were sure of you and that you’d be to me always as you are now, I’d be strong to do anything.” Chilliwack Bomber Jacket Red Womens Canada Goose cheap She laughed softly. Her laughter had nothing to do with his answer; it was the last retort in a bitter argument which had been waging in the stillness of her mind. When she spoke it was as though she yawned, rubbing unpleasant dreams from her eyes. “Well, little fellow, what are you going to do with me?”They drew up before a tall, buff-colored house, standing in a terrace. As though glad to escape from their emotional suspense, she jumped out the moment they had stopped, ran up the steps and rang the bell. While she waited for her ring to be answered, she kept her back towards him. The door was opened by a maid in a white cap and apron.

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“Forgive me, my darling. You couldn’t send me away. I shall never leave you.” canada goose lodge down jacket They rose. “Shall we go in?”“I can see what it would be without her,” he said dully.

He paused rigid, as though he had been stabbed; then went slowly back to his old position before the fire.And the heart but one;But his protestations worked no difference. One night, in crossing Times Square, she said, “You may take my arm if you choose.” When an hour later he tried to do it, she drew away from him, with, “I cross heaps of streets without that.” Sometimes, driving home, she would unglove a temptress hand and let it rest invitingly in her lap. At the first sign that he was going to take it, it would pop like a rabbit into the warren of her muff.“What I said when I buttoned your cloak about you?” She made her eyes innocently wide. “Did you do that? That was kind.”“Ah!” He tried to imagine her as a big lady. “You’ll be proud then, I expect. I once knew a big lady and she wasn’t—wasn’t very kind. I think I like you little best.” Outside it was growing dark. The rain beat against the window. The musty smell of old finery in boxes fitted with the melancholy of the sound.“Did it go well?” asked Teddy.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.Among the passengers he was a romantic figure. Stories went the rounds about him. It was said that the girl who had delayed the sailing was an actress—no, an heiress—no, one of the most beautiful of the season’s d茅butantes. Men’s eyes followed him with envy. Women tried to coax him into a confession—especially the old lady who had met him coming white-faced from the Purser’s office. He was regarded as a triumphant lover; he alone knew that he was an impostor.“They’re people who don’t love me. They’re beasts, and I’m cutting off their heads.”So, leaving the apartment with its heavy atmosphere of sleepers, they would seize for themselves this last respite.Teddy stared at her. It wasn’t her “strong langwidge” that made him stare; it was the confession that her words implied. “You’re—you’re in love?” canada goose lodge down jacket “Not wonderful at all. If you’d meant it, you’d remember.” canada goose lodge down jacket “Women never know their own minds,” said Horace. “A law ought to be passed to compel every woman who’s loved to marry.”“But you often let me go away like that.”She held her hand against her mouth and laughed into his eyes. “That you haven’t enjoyed yourself without me.”He threw himself upon the ruffian, kicking and punching. The man let her go and turned upon the boy.So he told her: told her how she had pained him in England by her silence; told her what her words “Come to America” had implied; described to her the expectations with which he had set sail; the disappointment when on landing he had found that she was absent; and then the growing heartache that had come to him while she trifled with him. He spared her nothing. “And you act as if my loving bored you,” he said; “and yet, if I take you at your word, you’re petulant May I speak about money now? I know how you hate me to talk of it—— And you won’t misunderstand?”She moved round to the side on which he carried it, so that they had to walk a little apart In the courtyard, from among the gesticulating cochers, he selected a fiacre. As he helped her in he asked, “Where are we staying?”“They’ll be always just Horace and Tom to me, while you—perhaps. I can’t explain, Meester Deek, if you don’t understand.”At the far end of the square he had noticed an old-fashioned hostel. He claimed his baggage at the caf茅, and took a room at the wine-tavern. Having bought a sketching-book, pencils and water-colors, he found the bridge which spans the Rhone between Avignon and Villeneuve. All morning he amused himself making drawings. About every half-hour a ramshackle bus passed him, going and returning. It was no more than boards spread across wheels, with an orange-colored canopy stretched over it. It was drawn by two lean horses, harnessed in with ropes and driven by a girl. He didn’t notice her much at first; the blue river, the white banks, the blue sky, the jagged, vineyard covered hills, and the darting of swallows claimed his attention. It was the bus that he noticed; it creaked and groaned as though it would fall to pieces. Then he saw the girl; she was young and bronzed and laughing. He traced a resemblance in her to Desire—to Desire when she was lenient and happy. She was bare-armed, bare-headed, full-breasted; her hair was black as ebony. She was always singing. About the fifth time in passing him, she smiled. He began to tell himself stories; in Desire’s absence, he watched for her as Desire’s proxy.“Why, what’s happened to your curl?”But to-morrow held its own surprise.With the dying sun.”“I wrote it for you,” he whispered, “so that you might understand.”He was conscious that she was using him as a barrier between herself and further conversation. Rising, she carried him over to the high four-poster bed. While she tucked him in, he could hear the clinking of a glass, and knew that his tribulations had recommenced. Mrs. Sheerug crossed from the fireplace: “Here’s another drink of the nice medicine.”As the train was thundering between the walls of London, Madame Josephine woke up. Drawing out her vanity-case, she renewed her complexion. It was so elaborate an undertaking that it was scarcely completed when they came to a halt in the station. “We’re going to meet again,” she said.Lunch was a typically Sheerugesque makeshift, consisting of boiled Spanish onions, sardines and cream-puffs. It was served in a dark room, like a Teniers’ interior, with plates lining the walls arranged on shelves. There was a door at either end, one leading into the kitchen, the other into the hall. When one of these doors banged, which it did quite frequently, a plate fell down. Perhaps it was to economize on this constant toll of breakages that Mrs. Sheerug used enamel-ware on her table. The table had a frowsy appearance, as though the person who had set the breakfast had forgotten to clear away the last night’s supper, and the person who had set the lunch had been equally careless about the breakfast. Mrs. Sheerug explained: “I always keep it set, my dear; we’re so irregular and it saves worry when our friends drop in at odd seasons.” canada goose lodge down jacket It was the last straw. His pride was broken. What did it matter whether she cared? The terrible reality was his need of her. He made a dash for the nearest pay-station and rang her up.It was a childish longing that prompted him to make his request. “I want to see your hands,” he whispered. “They’re so beautiful. It’s a shame to keep them covered. On my word of honor,” he sank his voice, “I won’t—won’t take advantage.”The blue trackless days passed quickly, while his mood alternated between precautionary coldness and passionate anticipation. His thoughts spread their wings, beating up into the unknown in broad flights of fancy. canada goose lodge down jacket “But I am,” she pouted, with a touch of petulance. “Then I’ll have to know you long enough. You’ll have to give me the chance to be disillusioned; that’s only fair. All the while you were sleeping I was planning a way to keep you from going. At first I hoped the car would break down. When it didn’t, I was tempted to loosen something so that we’d get stuck on the road. Not at all a King Arthur trick, that! But I couldn’t bring myself to do it after you’d trusted me. Then I thought I’d run off with you—let you wake up in Devon, miles from any railway, with no time to get back. Somehow, from what I remembered of you, I didn’t think that that would make you pleasant. Then I had a mad notion.”“But she can’t have. I’ve had her on the phone within half an hour.”