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always at his best in Alexa’s presence, gave her the kind of attention which is like a beaconing light thrown on the speaker’s words: his answers seemed to bring out a latent significance in her phrases, as the sculptor draws his statue from the block. Glennard, under his wife’s composure, detected a sensibility to this manoeuvre, and the discovery was like the lightning-flash across a nocturnal landscape. Thus far these momentary illuminations had served only to reveal the strangeness of the
who could afford to pay for their dinners, who did not have to hunt for invitations as a beggar rummages for a crust in an ash-barrel! But no—as Hollingsworth left the lessening circle about the table an admiring youth called out, “Holly, stop and dine!” Hollingsworth turned on him the crude countenance that looked like the wrong side of a more finished face. “Sorry I can’t. I’m in for a beastly banquet.” Glennard threw himself into an arm-chair. Why go home in the rain to dress? It was folly
feel more like crying. I don’t know what I should have done if Alexa hadn’t been home to give me a cup of tea. My nerves are in shreds—yes, another, dear, please—” and as Glennard looked his perplexity, she went on, after pondering on the selection of a second lump of sugar, “Why, I’ve just come from the reading, you know—the reading at the Waldorf.” “I haven’t been in town long enough to know anything,” said Glennard, taking the cup his wife handed him. “Who has been reading what?” “That
didn’t suppose even such egregious conceit as yours could delude a man to that degree!” Struggling for a foothold in the small landslide of his dignity, he added, in a steadier tone, “My wife learned the facts from me.” Flamel received this in silence. The other’s outbreak seemed to have reinforced his self-control, and when he spoke it was with a deliberation implying that his course was chosen. “In that case I understand still less—” “Still less—?” “The meaning of this.” He pointed to the
place. Every other passion, he mused, left some mark upon the nature; but love passed like the flight of a ship across the waters. She sank into her usual seat near the lamp, and he leaned against the chimney, moving about with an inattentive hand the knick-knacks on the mantel. Suddenly he caught sight of her reflection in the mirror. She was looking at him. He turned and their eyes met. He moved across the room and stood before her. “There’s something that I want to say to you,” he began in