Puslapio vaizdai

facts into me as you pour milk into a jug -facts that we needed more than the points I'd come to find out.

"I'm not at all sure," Julian finished reflectively, "that if you grip hard enough under pressure, you don't tap facts.

"Have you ever watched a crane work? You shift a lever, and it comes down as easily as a parrot picks up a pencil; it 'll lift a weight that a hundred men can't move an inch, and swing it up as if it were packing feathers. Funny idea, if there's a law that works like that.

"I came back through Alsace and Lorraine, meaning to slip through the French lines. A sentry winged me in the woods. Pure funk on his part; he never even came to hunt up what he 'd let fly at. But it finished my job."

Lady Verny folded up her embroidery. "It was worth the finish, Julian," she said quickly. "I am glad you told me, because I had not thought so before." Then she left them.

"It is n't finished, Julian," murmured Stella in a low voice. "It never can be when it's you.

"Well," said Julian, "it 's all I 've got to give you; so I'm rather glad you like it, Stella."

They talked till half the long summer night was gone. She sat near him, and sometimes Julian let his hand touch her shoulder or her hair while he unpacked his heart to her. The bitterness of his reserve was gone.

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"I think perhaps I could have stood it decently if it had n't been for Marian,' he explained. "I was damned weak about her, and that's a fact. You see, I thought she had the kind of feeling for me that women sometimes have and which some men deserve; but I 'm bound to admit I was n't one of them. When I saw that Marian took things rather the way I should have taken them myself, I went down under it. I said, "That's the end of love.' It was the end of the kind I was fit for, the kind that has an end.

"Now I'm going to tell you something. I never shall again, so you must make the most of it, and keep it to hold on to when

I behave badly. You 've put the fear of God into me, Stella. Nothing else would have made me give in to you; and you know I have given in to you, don't you?"

"You 've given me everything in the world I want," said Stella, gently, "if that's what you call giving in to me."

"I've done more than that," said Julian, quietly. "I've let you take my will and turn it with that steady little hand of yours; and it 's the first timeand I don't say it won't be the lastthat I've let any man or woman change my will for me.

"Now I'm going to send you to bed. I ought n't to have kept you up like this; but if I've got to let you go back to your people to-morrow, we had to know each other a little better first, had n't we? I've been trying not to know you all these months. Before you go, would you mind telling me about Mr. Travers and the cat?"

"No," said Stella, with a startled look; "anything else in the world, Julian, but not Mr. Travers and the cat."

"Ostrog and I are frightfully jealous by nature," Julian pleaded. "He would n't be at all nice to that cat if he met it without knowing its history."

"He can't be unkind to the poor cat," said Stella; "it 's dead."

"And is Mr. Travers dead, too?" asked Julian.

"I should think," said Stella, "that he is about as dead as the red-haired girl in the library."

"What red-haired girl?" cried Julian, sharply. "Who 's been telling you-I mean, what made you think I knew her? It's a remarkably fine bit of painting."

"But you did know her," said Stella; "only don't tell me anything about her unless you want to."

"I won't refuse to answer any questions you ask," said Julian after a pause, “but I'd much rather wait until we 're married. I am a little afraid of hurting you; you would n't be hurt, you see, if you were used to me and knew more about men. You're a clever woman, Stella, but the silliest little girl I ever knew."

"I'll give up the red-haired girl if you'll give up Mr. Travers," said Stella. She rose, and stood by his side, looking out of the window.

"Do you want to say good night, or would you rather go to bed without?" he asked her.

"Of course I'll say good night," said Stella. "But, Julian, there are some things I so awfully hate your doing. Saying good night does n't happen to be one of them. It's lighting my candle unless I'm sure you want to. I want to be quite certain you don't mind me in little things like that."

Julian put his arms round her and kissed her gently.

"Of course you shall light your candle," he said tenderly, "just to show I don't mind you. But it is n't my pride now. I don't a bit object to your seeing I can't. I'm quite sure of you, you see; unless you meant to hurt me, you simply could n't do it. And if you meant to hurt me, it would be because you wanted to stop me hurting myself, like this afternoon, would n't it?"

Stella nodded. She wanted to tell him that she had always loved him, long before he remembered that she existed. All the while he had felt himself alone she was as near him as the air that touched his cheek. But she could not find words in which to tell him of her secret companionship. The instinct that would have saved them only brushed her heart in passing. Julian was alarmed at her continued silence.

"You 're not frightened or worried or anything, are you?" he asked anxiously. "Sure you did n't mind saying good night? It's not compulsory, you know, even if we are engaged. I'd hate to bother you."

"I'm not bothered," Stella whispered; "I-only love you. I was saying it to you in my own way."

"I'll wait three days for you," said Julian, firmly. "Not an hour more. You quite understand, don't you, that I'm coming up at the end of three days to bring you home for good?"

Stella shivered as she thought of Redcliffe Square. Julian would n't like Redcliffe Square, and she would n't be able to make him like it; and yet she would n't be able not to mind his not liking it.

Julian knew nothing about Redcliffe Square, but he noticed that Stella shivered when he told her that he was going to bring her home for good.


IT would be too strong an expression to say that after Stella's departure Julian suffered from reaction. He himself could n't have defined what he suffered from but he was uneasy.

He had given himself away to Stella as he had never in his wildest dreams supposed that one could give oneself away to a woman. But he was n't worrying about that; he had n't minded giving himself away to Stella.

Samson was the character in the Old Testament whom Julian most despised, because he had let Delilah get things out of him. What Samson had got back had n't been worth it, and could probably have been acquired without the sacrifice of his hair. He had simply given in to Delilah because he had a soft spot for her; and Delilah quite blamelessly (from Julian's point of view) had retaliated by crying out, "The Philistines be upon thee, Samson!"

Julian had always felt perfectly safe with women of this type; they could n't have entrapped him. But there was n't an inch of Delilah in Stella. She had no Philistines up her sleeve for any of the contingencies of life and she had not tried to get anything out of Julian.

That was where his uneasiness began. He understood her sufficiently to trust her, but he was aware that beyond his confidence she was a mapless country; he did not even know which was water and which was land. His uncertainty had made him shrink from telling Stella about Eugénie Matisse.

If Marian had been sharp enough-she probably would n't have been-to guess

that Julian knew the girl in the picture, she would have known, too, precisely what kind of girl she was, and she would have thought none the worse of Julian.

But he did n't know what Stella expected. He was n't afraid that she would cast him off for that or any other of his experiences; then he would have told her. She would have forgiven him as naturally as she loved him; but what if her forgiveness had involved her pain?

He had spoken the truth when he told Stella that she had "put the fear of God into him." Julian had not known much about God before or anything about fear; but he was convinced now that the fear of God was not that God might let you down, but that you might let down God. He wanted to be as careful of Stella as if she had been a government secret.

Did she know in the least what she was in for? Or was she like an unconscious Iphigenia vowed off to moral peril by an inadvertent parent?

He had done his best to make her realize the future, but there are certain situations in life when doing one's best to make a person aware of a fact is equivalent to throwing dust into his eyes. And Stella herself might by a species of divine fooling, have outwitted both himself and her. She might be marrying Julian for pity under the mask of love.

Her pity was divine, and he could stand it for himself perfectly; but he could n't stand it for her. Why had she shivered when he had said he was going to bring her home? He cursed his helplessness. If he had not been crippled he would have taken her by surprise, and let his instincts judge for him; but he had had to lie there like a log, knowing that if he asked her to come to him, she would have blinded him by her swift, prepared responsiveness.

The moment on the downs hardly counted. She had been so frightened that it had been like taking advantage of her to take her in his arms.

The one comfort he clung to was her fierce thrust at his pride. He repeated it over and over to himself for reassurance.

She had said, if he would n't marry her, he would make her morally a cripple. That really sounded like love, for only love dares to strike direct at the heart. If he could see her, he knew it would be all right; if even she had written (she had written, of course, but had missed the midnight post), he would have been swept back into the safety of their shared companionship. But in his sudden loneliness he mistrusted fortune. When a man has had the conceit knocked out of him, he is not immediately the stronger for it; and he is the more vulnerable to doubt not only of himself, but of others. The saddest part of self-distrust is that it breeds suspicion.

It would be useless to speak to his mother about it, for, though just a woman, she was predominantly his mother; she wanted Stella too much for Julian to admit a doubt of Stella's wanting it for herself. She would have tried to close all his questions with facts. This method of discussion appealed to Julian as a rule, but he had begun to discover that there are deeper things than facts.

Lady Verny was in London at a flower show, and Julian was sitting in the summer-house, which he was planning to turn into a room for Stella. His misgivings. had not yet begun to interfere with his plans. He had just decided to have one of the walls above the water-meadows replaced by glass when his attention was attracted by the most extraordinary figure he had ever seen.

She was advancing rapidly down a grass path, between Lady Verny's favorite herbaceous borders, pursued by the butler. At times Thompson, stout and breathless, succeeded in reaching her side, evidently for the purpose of expostulation, only to be swept backward by the impetuosity of her speed. Eurydice was upon a secret mission. She had borrowed a pound from Stella with which to carry it out, and she was not going to be impeded by a butler.

She no longer followed the theories of Mr. Bolt, but she still had to wear out the kind of clothes that went with Mr. Bolt's theories. He liked scarlet hats.

Eurydice's hat was scarlet, and her dress was a long, purple robe that hung straight from her shoulders.

It was cut low in the neck, with a system of small scarlet tabloids let in around the shoulders. Golden balls, which were intended to represent pomegranates, dangled from her waist.

Eurydice's hair was thick and very dark; there was no doing anything with it. Her eyebrows couched menacingly above her stormy eyes. Her features were heavy and colorless, except her mouth, which was unnaturally (and a little unevenly) red.

She wore no gloves,-she had left them behind in the train,-and she carried at scarlet parasol with a broken rib.

"I wish you 'd send this man away," she said as she approached Julian. "He keeps getting under my feet, and I dislike menials. I saw where you were for myself. I nearly got bitten by a brute of a dog on the terrace. You have no right to keep a creature that's a menace to the public."

"I regret that you have been inconvenienced," said Julian, politely; "but I must point out to you that the public are not expected upon the terrace of a private garden."

"As far as that goes," said Eurydice, frowning at a big bed of blue Delphiniums, "nobody has a right to have a private garden."

Thompson, with an enormous effort, physical as well as spiritual, cut off the end of the border by a flying leap, and reached the young woman's elbow.

"If you please, Sir Julian," he gasped, "this lady says she 'd rather not give her name. She didn't wish to wait in the hall, nor in the drawing-room, sir, and I've left James sitting on Ostrog's 'ead, or I'd have been here before. What with one thing and another, Sir Julian, I came as quickly as I could."

“། saw you did, Thompson," said Julian, with a gleam of laughter: "and Tell James to get off Ostrog's head." He turned his eyes on his visitor.

now you may go.

"I am Miss Waring," she said as the butler vanished.

"This is extraordinarily kind of you," Julian said, steadying himself with one hand, and holding out his other to Eurydice. "I think you must be Miss Eurydice, are 'nt you? I was looking forward to meeting you to-morrow. I hope nothing is wrong with Stella."

"Everything is wrong with her," flashed Eurydice, ignoring his outstretched hand; "but she does n't know I've come to talk to you about it. She'd never forgive me if she did. So if I say anything you don't like, you can revenge yourself on me by telling her. I have n't come to be kind, as you call it. I care far too much for the truth."

"Still, you may as well sit down," said Julian, drawing a chair toward her with his free hand. "The truth is quite compatible with a wicker arm-chair. You need n't lean back in it if you 're afraid of relaxing your moral fiber.

"As to revenge, I always choose my own, and even if you make it necessary, I don't suppose it will include your sister. What you suggest would have the disadvantage of doing that, would n't it? I mean the disadvantage to me. It has n't struck you apparently as a disadvantage that you are acting disloyally toward your sister in doing what you know she would dislike."

Eurydice flung back her head and stared at him. She accepted the edge of the wicker arm-chair provisionally. Her eyes traveled relentlessly over Julian. She took in, and let him see that she took in, the full extent of his injury; but she spared him pity. She looked as if she were annoyed with him for having injuries.

"What I'm doing," she said, "is my business, not yours. It might n't please Stella, I must take the risk of that,but if it saves her from you, it will be worth it."

Julian bowed; his eyes sparkled. An enemy struck him as preferable to a secret doubt.

“I did n't know," she said after a slight pause which Julian did nothing to re

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