“Mother, you’re very beautiful.”At that moment Desire entered and slipped into the vacant chair beside him. All through the meal as the atmosphere brightened, she sat silent. She seemed to be doing her best not to notice that he was there.“Shish!” Her lips did scarcely more than frame the warning. “Hal, I never told you,” she said gayly, “Teddy’s in love with me and one day we’re going to be married. That’s why I brought him to see the house. He’s promised never to breathe a word of what he sees, because it’s a faery house and, if he does, it’ll vanish.”In the old garden Hal lost his sadness. It was late in the afternoon, when he was leaving, that she asked the question that brought it back, “When is mother coming?” new canada goose
Suddenly he realized. He was fighting towards her through the crowd. He had his hand on the steward’s shoulder. “Damn you. Don’t touch her.”“I will be a boy,” she whispered rebelliously.CHAPTER XXV—LUCK new canada goose He came back into the room and smiled at the photo on the piano. “She mayn’t be in love with me yet, but she’s certainly not in love with you,” he thought. Then he stood gazing at his unresponsive rival, wondering how much he could tell.Then she commenced to ask him questions. “Do you really think that I’ve not got any passion?—If I’d been scarred in that motor-car accident, would you still love me?—Mrs. Theodore Gurney! It does sound funny. I wonder if I’ll ever be called that.” new canada goose But when they had walked round the glass shield of the shelter, they saw that she was sleeping. She must be sleeping soundly, for the insistent yapping of a Pomeranian did not seem to disturb her. Her hands lay loosely folded in her lap; in one of them a crumpled hankerchief was clutched. It was plain that she had been crying.She tossed her curls and lowered her eyes. “Did I bite? For the fun of it, I’m always being cross like that. I’m even cross to my mother—my beautiful mother. She’s the darlingest mother in the world.”He was seated in the white mirrored room of the Brevoort which looks out on Fifth Avenue. From the kitchen came the mutter of bass voices, passing orders along in French, and the cheerful smell of roasting coffee. Scattered between tables, meditative waiters were dreaming that they were artists’ models, each with a graceful hand resting on the back of a chair in readiness to flick it out invitingly at the first sight of an uncaptured guest. From the left arm of each dangled a napkin, betraying that he had served his appenticeship in boulevard caf茅s of Paris.Saying that he would be gone before they were out of bed, the man bade them farewell.She shook her head sorrowfully. “Not quite enough. But don’t let’s think about it. This is our day, Teddy, and we’re going to be happy. Guess where I’m taking you; it proves that I meant my promise.”She slanted her eyes at him. “Are you? See if you can.”“You’re not going to now.” new canada goose As if coming to uphold him in his allegiance to romance, the Invincible Armada of dreamers sailed out: cresting the sullen horizon of housetops, the white moon swam into the heavens—the admiral ship of illusion, with lesser moons of faint stars following. He remembered that through all his years that white fleet of stars would be watching, riding steadily at anchor. Nothing of bitterness could sink one ship of that celestial armada. He clenched his hands. And nothing that he might hear of bitterness should sink one hope of his great belief in the goodness and kindness of the world.And then there was Mr. Yaffon. Mr. Yaffon lived next door and seemed to sum up the entire problem in a nutshell.She shuddered. “I wish we hadn’t come. It’s——”“You won’t laugh at me?”As a compromise, Orchid Lodge was re-decorated in violent colors, and a carriage and pair waited before it. Mrs. Sheerug used her carriage for hunting up invalids that she might dose them with medicines of her own invention. She inclined to the garish in her method of dress, wearing yellow feathers and green plush, as in the old days when Jimmie Boy had dashed to the window to make sketches of her for the faery-godmother. And to him she was a faery-godmother, for she bought his pictures and insisted on having an exhibition of them at The Beauty Palace.“Do they?”Then he stopped laughing suddenly and dropped his rough way of talking. The child’s face had gone desperately white. “Poor chap! Must have frightened you! Here, steady.” new canada goose To the world in general she was a notorious woman who had sinned splendidly and with discretion. She seemed to deny the advantages of virtue. Was she not beautiful? Was she not young? Hadn’t she wealth? Teddy had come to an age when youth tests the conventions; it was Madame Josephine who answered his doubts on the subject.There was a cheerful insolence about the way in which he sniffed, “Oh, a third!” addressing nobody in particular and thinking his thoughts aloud. He had a fine, rolling baritone. His aristocratic, drawling way of talking set up an immediate barrier between himself and the world—a barrier which he evidently expected the world to recognize.“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?”She sighed, but her eyes did not open.Her beauty was a subtle, intoxicating perfume, like incense suggesting the spirit of worship. She was different from his mother—different even from Vashti, and from any woman that he had known. Her difference might not be the result of virtues—might even be due to omitted qualities. He did not stop to analyze; to him the very newness of her type was a fascination.