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“EIGH?” said Mr. Hoopdriver, catching at his moustache. This was an unexpected development.
“I want to write, you see,” sa cheap air 1 id the Young Lady in Grey, “to write Books and alter things. To do Good. I want to lead a Free Life and Own myself. I can’t go back. I want to obtain a position as a journalist. I have been told–But I know no one to help me at once. No one that I could go to. There is one person–She was a mistress at my school. If I could write to her–But then, how could I get her answer?”
“H’mp,” said Mr. Hoopdriver, very grave.
“I can’t trouble you much more. You have come–you have risked things–”
“That don’t count,” said Mr. Hoopdriver. “It’s double pay to let me do it, so to speak.”
“It is good of you to say that. Surbiton is so Conventional. I am resolved to be Unconventional–at any cost. But we are so hampered. If I could only burgeon out of all that hinders me! I want to struggle, to take my place in the world. I want to be m nike air max 1 red y own mistress, to shape my own career. But my stepmother objects so. She does as she likes herself, and is strict with me to ease her conscience. And if I go back now, go back owning myself beaten–” She left the rest to his imagination.
“I see that,” agreed Mr. Hoopdriver. He MUST help her. Within his skull he was doing some intricate arithmetic with five pounds six and twopence. In some vague way he inferred from all this that Jessie was trying to escape from an undesirable marriage, but was saying these things out of modesty. His circle of ideas was so limited.
“You know, Mr.–I’ve forgotten your name again.”
Mr. Hoopdriver seemed lost in abstraction. “You can’t go back of course, quite like that,” he said thoughtfully. His ears waxed suddenly red and his cheeks flushed.
“But what IS your name?”
“Name!” said Mr. Hoopd nike air max 1 leopard river. “Why!–Benson, of course.”
“Mr. Benson–yes it’s really very stupid of me. But I can never remember names. I must make a note on my cuff.” She clicked a little silver pencil and wrote the name down. “If I could write to my friend. I believe she would be able to help me to an independent life. I could write to her–or telegraph. Write, I think. I could scarcely explain in a telegram. I know she would help me.”
Clearly there was only one course open to a gentleman under the circumstances. “In that case,” said Mr. Hoopdriver, “if you don’t mind trusting yourself to a stranger, we might continue as we are perhaps. For a day or so. Until you heard.” (Suppose thirty shillings a day, that gives four days, say four thirties is hun’ and twenty, six quid,–well, three days, say; four ten.)
“You are very good to me.”
His expr nike air max 1 grey ession was eloquent.
“Very well, then, and thank you. It’s wonderful–it’s more than I deserve that you–” She dropped the theme abruptly. “What was our bill at Chichester?”
“Eigh?” said Mr. Hoopdriver, feigning a certain stupidity. There was a brief discussion. Secretly he was delighted at her insistence in paying. She carried her point. Their talk came round to their immediate plans for the day. They decided to ride easily, through Havant, and stop, perhaps, at Fareham or Southampton. For the previous day had tried them both. Holding the map extended on his knee, Mr. Hoopdriver’s eye fell by chance on the bicycle at his feet. “That bicycle,” he remarked, quite irrelevantly, “wouldn’t look the same machine if I got a big, double Elarum instead of that little bell.”
“Jest a thought.” A pause.
“Very well, then,–Havant and lunch,” said Jessie, rising.
“I wish, someho w, we could have managed it without stealing that machine,” said Hoopdriver. “Because it IS stealing it, you know, come to think of it.”
“Nonsense. If Mr. Bechamel troubles you–I will tell the whole world–if need be.”
“I believe you would,” said Mr. Hoopdriver, admiring her. “You’re plucky enough–goodness knows.”
Discovering suddenly that she was standing, he, too, rose and picked up her machine. She took it and wheeled it into the road. Then he took his own. He paused, regarding it. “I say!”said he. “How’d this bike look, now, if it was enamelled grey?” She looked over her shoulder at his grave face. “Why try and hide it in that way?”
“It was jest a passing thought,” said Mr. Hoopdriver, airily. “Didn’t MEAN anything, you know.”
As they were riding on to Havant it occurred to Mr. Hoopdriver in a transitory manner that nike air max 1 black the interview had been quite other than his expect cheap nike air max 1 ation. But that was the way with everything in Mr. Hoopdriver’s experience. And though his Wisdom looked grave within him, and Caution was chinking coins, and an ancient prejudice in favour of Property shook her head, something else was there too, shouting in his mind to drown all these saner considerations, the intoxicating thought of riding beside Her all to-day, all to-morrow, perhaps for other days after that. Of talking to her familiarly, being brother of all her slender strength and freshness, of having a golden, real, and wonderful time beyond all his imaginings. His old familiar fancyings gave place to anticipations as impalpable and fluctuating and cheap air max 1 beautiful as the sunset of a summer day.
At Havant he took an opportunity to purchase, at small hairdresser’s in the main street, a toothbrush,pair of nail scissors, and a little bottle of stuff to darken the moustache, an article the shopman introduced to his attention, cheap air max 1 recommended highly, and sold in the excitement of the occasion.
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They rode on to Cosham and lunched lightly but expensively there. Jessie went out and posted her letter to her school friend. Then the green height of Portsdown Hill tempted them, and leaving their machines in the village they clambered up the slope t nike air max 1 sale o the silent red-brick fort that crowned it. Thence they had a view of Portsmouth and its cluster of sister towns, the crowded narrows of the harbour, the Solent and the Isle of Wight like a blue cloud through the hot haze. Jessie by some miracle had become a skirted woman in the Cosham inn. Mr. Hoopdriver lounged gracefully on the turf, smoked a Red Herring cig nike air max 1 premium arette, and lazily regarded the fortified towns that spread like a map away there, the inner line of defence like toy fortifications, a mile off perhaps ; and beyond that a few little fields and then the beginnings of Landport suburb and the smoky cluster of the multitudinous houses. To the right at the head of the harbour shallows the town of Por nike air max 1 chester rose among the trees. Mr. Hoopdriver’s anxiety receded to some remote corner of his brain and that florid half-voluntary imagination of his shared the stage with the image of Jessie. He began to speculate on the impression he was creating. He took stock of his suit in a more optimistic spirit, and reviewed, with some complacency, his actions for the last four and twenty cheap max 1 hours. Then he was dashed at the thought of her infinite perfections.
She had been observing him quietly, rather more closely during the last hour or so. She did not look at him directly because he seemed always looking at her. Her own troubles had quieted down a little, and her curiosity about the chivalrous, worshipping, but singular gentleman in brown, was awakening. She had recalled, too, the curious incident of their first encounter. She found him hard to explain to herself. You must understand that her knowledge of the world was rather less than nothing, having been obtained entirely from books. You must not tak nike air max 1 ebay e a certain ignorance for foolishness.
She had begun with a few experiments. He did not know French except ‘sivver play,’ a phrase he seemed to regard as a very good light table joke in itself. His English was uncertain, but not such as books informed her distinguished the lower classes.

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