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oo little of it to have formed any opinion; but whatever it may have to offer me, I am painfully conscious of having, at present, nothing but your kind commendation to give in return.”
Mrs. Dressel rose impatiently. “How absurdly you talk! You’re a little thinner than usual, and I don’t like those dark lines under your eyes; but Westy Gaines tol nike dunks uk d me yesterday that he thought you handsomer than ever, and that it was intensely becoming to some women to look over-tired.”
“It’s lucky I’m one of that kind,” Miss Brent rejoined, between a sigh and a laugh, “and there’s every promise of my getting handsomer every day if somebody doesn’t soon arrest the geometrical progression of my good looks by giving me the chance to take a year’s rest!”
As she spoke, she stretched her arms above her head, with a gesture revealing the suppleness of her slim young frame, but also its tenuity of structure–the frailness nike dunks uk of throat and shoulders, and the play of bones in the delica nike dunks high uk te neck. Justine Brent had one of those imponderable bodies that seem a mere pinch of matter shot through with light and colour. Though she did not flush easily, auroral lights ran under her clear skin, were lost in the shadows of her hair, and broke again in her eyes; and her voice seemed to shoot light too, as though her smile nike dunks low flashed back from her words as they fell–all her features being so fluid and chang cheap nike dunks eful that the one solid thing about her was the massing of dense black hair which clasped her face like the noble metal of some antique bust.
Mrs. Dressel’s face softened at the note of weariness in the girl’s voice. “Are you very tired, dear?” she asked drawing her down to a seat on the sofa.
“Yes, and no–not so much bodily, perhaps, as in spirit.” Justine Brent drew her brows together, and stared moodily at the thin brown hands interwoven between Mrs. Dressel’s plump fingers. Seated thus, with hollowed shoulders and brooding head, she might have figured a young sibyl bowed above some mystery of fate; but the next moment her face, inclining toward her friend’s, cast off its shadows and resumed the look of a plaintive child.
“The worst of it is that I don’t look forward with any interest to taking up the old drudgery ag nike dunks high ain. Of course that loss of interest may be merely physical–I should call it so in a nervous patient, no doubt. But in myself it seems different–it seems to go to the roots of the world. You know it was always the imaginative side of my work that helped me over the ugly details–the pity and beauty that disinfected the physical horror; but now that feeling is lost, and only the mortal disgust remains. Oh, Effie, I don’t want to be a ministering angel any more–I want to be uncertain, coy and hard to please. I want something dazzling and unaccountable to happen to me–something new and unlived and indescribable!”
She snatched herself with a laugh from the bewildered Effie, and flinging up her arms again, spun on a light heel across the polished floor.
“Well, then,” murmured Mrs. Dressel with gentle obstinacy, “I can’t s cheap nike dunks ee why in the world you won’t go to the Gaines’s garden-party!” And caught in the whirlwind of her friend’s incomprehensible mirth, she still persisted, as she ducked her blonde head to it: “If you’ll only let me lend you my dress with the Irish lace, you’ll look smarter than anybody there….”
* * * * *
Before her toilet mirror, an hour later, Justine Brent seemed in a way to fulfill Mrs. Dressel’s prediction. So mirror-like herself, she could no more help reflecting the happy effect of a bow or a feather than the subtler influence of word and look; and her face and figure were so new to the advantages of dress that, at four-and-twenty, she still produced the effect of a young girl in her first “good” frock. In Mrs. Dressel’s festal raiment, which her dark tints subdued to a quiet elegance, she was like the golden core nike dunks jd of a pale rose illuminating and scenting its petals.
Three years of solitary life, following on a youth of confidential intimacy with the mother she had lost, had produced in her the quaint habit of half-loud soliloquy. “Fine feathers, Justine!” she laughed back at her laughing image. “You look like a phoenix risen from your ashes. But slip back into your own plumage, and you’ll be no more than a little brown bird without a song!”
The luxurious suggestions of her dress, and the way her warm youth became it, drew her back to memories of a childhood nestled in beauty and gentle ways, before her handsome prodigal father had died, and her mother’s face had grown pinched in the long struggle with poverty. But those memories were after all less dear to Justine than the grey years following, when, growing up, she had helped to clear a space in the wilderness for their tiny he nike dunks ebay arth-fire, when her own efforts had fed the flame and roofed it in from the weather. A great heat, kindled at that hearth, had burned in her veins, making her devour her work, lighting and warming the long cold days, and reddening the horizon through dark passages of revolt and failure; and she felt all the more deeply the chill of reaction that set in with her mother’s death.
She thought she had chosen her work as a nurse in a spirit of high disinterestedness; but in the first hours of her bereavement it seemed as though only the personal aim had sustained her. For a while, after this, her sick people became to her mere bundles of disintegrating matter, and she shrank from physical pain with a distaste the deeper because, mechanically, she could not help working on to relieve it. Gradually her sound nature passed out of this morbid phase, and she took up her task with nike dunks deeper pity if less exalted ardour; glad to do her part in the vast impersonal labour of easing the world’s misery, but longing with all the warm instincts of youth for a special load to lift, a single hand to clasp.
Ah, it was cruel to be alive, to be young, to bubble with springs of mirth and tenderness and folly, and to live in perpetual contact with decay and pain–to look persistently into the grey face of death without having lifted even a corner of life’s veil! Now and then, when she felt her youth flame through the sheath of dulln custom nike dunks ess which was gradually enclosing it, she rebelled at the conditions that tied a spirit like hers to its monotonous task, while others, without a quiver of wings on their dull shoulders, or a note of music in their hearts, had the whole wide world to range through, and saw in it no more than a frightful emptiness to be shut out with tight walls of habit….
* * * * *
A tap on the d oor announced Mrs. Dressel, garbed for conquest, and bestowing on her brilliant person the last anxious touches of the artist reluctant to part from a masterpiece.
“My dear, how well you look! I _knew_ that dress would be becoming!” she exclaimed, generously transferring her self-approval to Justine; and adding, as the latter moved toward her: “I wish Westy Gaines could see you now!”
“Well, he will presently,” Miss Brent rejoined, ignoring the slight stress on the name.
Mrs. Dressel continued to brood on her maternally. “Justine–I wish you’d tell me! You say you hate the life you’re leading now–but isn’t there somebody who might—-?”
“Give me another, with lace dresses in it?” Justine’s slight shrug might have seemed theatr cheap nike dunks ical, had it not been a part of the ceaseless dramatic play of her flexible person. “There might be, perhaps…only I’m not sure–” She broke off whimsically.
“Not sure of what?”
“That this kind of dress might not always be a little tight on the shoulders.”
“Tight on the shoulders? What do you mean, Justine? My clothes simply _hang_ on you!”
“Oh, Effie dear, don’t you remember the fable of the wings under the skin, that sprout when one meets a pair of kindred shoulders?” And, as Mrs. Dressel bent on her a brow of unenlightenment–“Well, it doesn’t matter: I only mea nike dunks high tops nt that I’ve always been afraid good clothes might keep my wings from sprouting!” She turned back to the glass, giving herself a last light touch such as she had bestowed on the roses.
“And that reminds me,” she continued–“how about Mr. Amherst’s wings?”
“John Amherst?” Mrs. Dressel brightened into immediate attention. “Why, do you know him?”
“Not as the owner of the Westmore Mills; but I came across him as their assistant manager three years ago, at the Hope Hospital, and he was starting a very promising pair then. I wonder if they’re doing as well under his new coat.”
“I’m not sure that I understand you when you talk poetry,” said Mrs. Dressel with less interest; “but personally I can’t say I like John Amherst–and he is certainly not worthy of such a lovely woman as Mrs. Westmore. Of8

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