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a person of means and leisure, but he knew nothing of recent concerts, theatres, or books. How did he spend his time? He was certainly chivalrous, and a trifle simpleminded. She fancied (so much is there in a change of costume) that she had never met with such a man before. What COULD he be?
“Mr. Benson,” she said, breaking a silence devoted to landscape.
He rolled over and regarded her, chi nike air max 1 black n on knuckles.
“At your service.”
“Do you paint? Are you an artist?”
“Well.” Judicious pause. “I should hardly call myself a Nartist.” you know. I DO paint a little. And sketch, you know–skitty kind of things.”
He plucked and began to nibble a blade of grass. It was really not so much lying as his quick imagination that prompted him to add, “I n Papers, you know, and all that.”
“I see,” said Jessie, looking at him thoughtfully. Artists were a very heterogeneous class certainly, and geniuses had a trick of being a little odd. He avoided her eye and bit his grass. “I don’t do MUCH, you know.”
“It’s not your profession?
“Oh, no,” said Hoopdriver, anxious now to hedge. “I don’t make a regular thing of it, you know. jest now and then something comes into my head and down it goes. No–I’m not a regular artist.”
“Then you don’t practise any regular profession? Mr. Hoopdriver looked into her eyes and saw their quiet unsuspicious regard. He had vague ideas of resuming the detective role. “It’s like this,” he said, to gain time. “I have a sort of profession. Only there’s a kind of reason–nothi nike air max 1 ebay ng much, you know ”
“I beg your pardon for cross-examining you.”
“No trouble, nike air max 1 grey ” said Mr. Hoopdriver. “Only I can’t very well–I leave it to you, you know. I don’t want to make any mystery of it, so far as that goes.” Should he plunge boldly and be a barrister? That anyhow was something pretty good. But she might know about barristry.
“I think I could guess what you are.”
“Well–guess,” said Mr. Hoopdriver.
“You come from one of the colonies?”
“Dear me!” said Mr. Hoopdriver, veering round to the new wind. “How did you find out THA cheap nike air max 1 T?” (the man was born in a London suburb, dear Reader.)
“I guessed,” she said.
He lifted his eyebrows as one astonished, and clutched a new piece of grass.
“You were educated up country.”
“Good again,” said Hoopdriver, rolling over again into her elbow. “You’re a CLAIRVOY ant.” He bit at the grass, smiling. “Which colony was it?”
“That I don’t know.”
“You must guess,” said nike air max 1 red Hoopdriver.
“South Africa,” she said. “I strongly incline to South Africa.”
“South Africa’s quite a large place,” he said.
“But South Africa is right?”
“You’re warm,” said Hoopdriver, “anyhow,” and the while his imagination was eagerly exploring this new province.
“South Africa IS right?” she insisted.
He turned over again and nodded, smiling reassuringly into her eyes.
“What made me think of South Africa was that novel of Olive Schreiner’s, you know–The Story of an African Farm.’ Gregory Rose is so like you.”
“I never read ‘The Story of an African Farm,'” said Hoopdriver. “I must. What’s he like?”
“You must read the book. But it’s a wonderful place, with its mixture of races, and it cheap air max 1 s brand-new civilisation jostling the old savagery. Were you near Khama?”
“He was a long way off from our place,” said Mr. Hoopdriver. “We cheap air max 1 had a little ostrich farm, you know–Just a few hundred of ’em, out Johannesburg way.”
“On the Karroo–was it called?”
“That’s the term. Some of it was freehold though. Luckily. We got along very well in the old days.–But there’s no ostriches on that farm now.” He had a diamond mine in his head, just at the moment, but he stop cheap max 1 ped and left a little to the girl’s imagination. Besides which it had occurred to him with a kind of shock that he was lying.
“What became of the ostriches?”
“We sold ’em off, when we parted with the farm. Do you mind if I have another cigarette? That was when I was quite a little chap, you know, that we had this ostrich farm.”
“Did you have Blacks and Boers about you?”
“Lots,” said Mr. Hoopdriver, striking a match on his instep and beginning to feel hot at the new responsibility he had brought upon himself.
“How interesting! Do you know, I’ve never been out of England except to Paris and Mentone and Switzerland.”
“One gets tired of travelling (puff) after a bit, of course.”
“You must tell me about your farm in South Africa. It always stimulates my imagination to think of these places. I can fancy all the tall ostriches being driven out by a black herd–to graze, I suppose. How do ostriches feed?”
“Well,” said Hoopdriver. “Th nike air max 1 leopard at’s rather various. They have their fancies, you know. There’s fruit, of course, and that kind of thing. And chicken food, and so forth. You have to use judgment.”
“Did you ever see a lion?” “They weren’t very common in our district,” said Hoopdriver, quite modestly. “But I’ve seen them, of course. Once or twice.”
“Fancy seeing a lion! Weren’t you frightened?”
Mr. Hoopdriver was now thoroughly sorry he had accepted that offer of South Africa. He puffed his cigarette and regarded the Solent languidly as he settled the fate on that lion in his mind. “I scarcely had time,” he said. “It all happened in a minute.”
“Go on,” she said.
“I was going across the inner paddock where the fatted ostriches were.”
“Did you EAT ostriches, then? I did not know–”
“Eat them!–often. Very nice they ARE too, properly stuffed. Well, we–I, rather–was going across this paddock, and I saw something standing up in the moonlight and looking at me.” Mr. Hoopdriver was in a hot perspiration now. His invention seemed to have gone limp. “Luckily I had my nike air max 1 father’s gun with me. I was scared, though, I can tell you. (Puff.) I just aimed at the end that I thought was the head. And let fly. (Puff.) And over it went, you know.”
“AS dead. It was one of the luckiest shots I ever fired. And I wasn’t much over nine at the time, neither.”
“_I_ should have screamed and run away.”
“There’s some things you can’t run away from,” said Mr. Hoopdriver. “To run would have b nike air max 1 premium een Death.”
“I don’t think I ever met a lion-killer before,” she remarked, evidently with a heightened opinion of him.
There was a pause. She seemed meditating further questions. Mr. Hoopdriver drew his watch hastily. “I say,” said Mr. Hoopdriver, showing it to her, “don’t you think we ought to be getting on?”
His face was flushed, his ears bright red. She ascribed his confusion to modesty. He rose with a lion added to the burthens of his conscience, and held out his hand to assist her. They walked down into Cosham again, resumed their machines, and went on at a leisurely pace along the northern shore of the big harbour. But Mr. Hoopdriver was no longer happy. This horrible, this fulsome lie, stuck in his memory. Why HAD he done it? She did not ask for any more South African stories, happily–at least until Porchester was nike air max 1 sale reached–but talked instead of Living One’s Own Life, and how custom hung on people like chains. She talked wonderfully, and set Hoopdriver’s mind fermenting. By the Castle, Mr. Hoopdriver caught several crabs in little shore pools. At Fareham they stopped for a second tea, and left the place towards the hour of sunset, under such invigorating circumstances as you shall in due course hear.
Chapter 30
And now to tell of those energetic chevaliers, Widgery, Dangle, and Phipps, and of that distressed beauty, ‘Thomas Plantagenet,’ well known in society, so the paragraphs said, as Mrs. Milton. We left them at Midhurst station, if I remember rightly, waiting, in a state of fine emotion, for the Chichester train. It was clearly understood by the entire Rescue Party that Mrs. Milton was bearing up bravely against almost overwhelmi cheap air 1 ng grief. The three gentlemen outdid one another in sympathetic expedients; they watched he

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