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so they were headinginstead for the Nelson Vanderlyns’ palace on the Giudecca. Theywere agreed that, for reasons of expediency, it might be wise toreturn to New York for the coming winter. It would keep them inview, and probably lead to fresh opportunities; indeed, Susyalready had in mind the convenient flat that she was sure amigratory cousin (if tactfully handled, and assured that theywould not overwork her cook) could certainly be induced to lendthem. Meanwhile the need of making plans was still remote; andif there was one art in which young Lansing’s twenty-eight yearsof existence had perfected him it was that of living completelyand unconcernedly in the present ….
  If of late he had tried to look into the future more insistentlythan was his habit, it was only because of Susy. He had meant,when they married, to be as philosophic for her as for himself;and he knew she would have resented above everything hisregarding their partnership as a reason for anxious thought.
  But since they had been together she had given him glimpses ofher past that made him angrily long to shelter and defend herfuture. It was intolerable that a spirit as fine as hers shouldbe ever so little dulled or diminished by the kind ofcompromises out of which their wretched lives were made. Forhimself, he didn’t care a hang: he had composed for his ownguidance a rough-and-ready code, a short set of “mays” and”mustn’ts” which immensely simplified his course. There werethings a fellow put up with for the sake of certain definite andotherwise unattainable advantages; there were other things hewouldn’t traffic with at any price. But for a woman, he beganto see, it might be different. The temptations might begreater, the cost considerably higher, the dividing line betweenthe “mays” and “mustn’ts” more fluctuating and less sharplydrawn. Susy, thrown on the world at seventeen, with only a weakwastrel of a father to define that treacherous line for her, andwith every circumstance soliciting her to overstep it, seemed tohave been preserved chiefly by an innate scorn of most of theobjects of human folly. “Such trash as he went to pieces for,”was her curt comment on her parent’s premature demise: asthough she accepted in advance the necessity of ruining one’sself for something, but was resolved to discriminate firmlybetween what was worth it and what wasn’t.
  This philosophy had at first enchanted Lansing; but now it beganto rouse vague fears. The fine armour of her fastidiousness hadpreserved her from the kind of risks she had hitherto beenexposed to; but what if others, more subtle, found a joint init? Was there, among her delicate discriminations, anyequivalent to his own rules? Might not her taste for the bestand rarest be the very instrument of her undoing; and ifsomething that wasn’t “trash” came her way, would she hesitate asecond to go to pieces for it?
  He was determined to stick to the compact that they should donothing to interfere with what each referred to as the other’s”chance”; but what if, when hers came, he couldn’t agree withher in recognizing it? He wanted for her, oh, so passionately,the best; but his conception of that best had so insensibly, sosubtly been transformed in the light of their first monthtogether!
  His lazy strokes were carrying him slowly shoreward; but thehour was so exquisite that a few yards from the landing he laidhold of the mooring rope of Streffy’s boat and floated there,following his dream …. It was a bore to be leaving; no doubtthat was what made him turn things inside-out so uselessly.
  Venice would be delicious, of course; but nothing would everagain be as sweet as this. And then they had only a year ofsecurity before them; and of that year a month was gone.
  Reluctantly he swam ashore, walked up to the house, and pushedopen a window of the cool painted drawing-room. Signs ofdeparture were already visible. There were trunks in the hall,tennis rackets on the stairs; on the landing, the cook Giuliettahad both arms around a slippery hold-all that refused to letitself be strapped. It all gave him a chill sense of unreality,as if the past month had been an act on the stage, andits setting were being folded away and rolled into the wings tomake room for another play in which he and Susy had no part.
  By the time he came down again, dressed and hungry, to theterrace where coffee awaited him, he had recovered his usualpleasant sense of security. Susy was there, fresh and gay, arose in her breast and the sun in her hair: her head was bowedover Bradshaw, but she waved a fond hand across the breakfastthings, and presently looked up to say: “Yes, I believe we canjust manage it.””Manage what?””To catch the train at Milan–if we start in the motor at tensharp.”He stared. “The motor? What motor?””Why, the new people’s–Streffy’s tenants. He’s never told metheir name, and the chauffeur says he can’t pronounce it. Thechauffeur’s is Ottaviano, anyhow; I’ve been making friends withhim. He arrived last night, and he says they’re not due at Comotill this evening. He simply jumped at the idea of running usover to Milan.””Good Lord–” said Lansing, when she stopped.
  She sprang up from the table with a laugh. “It will be ascramble; but I’ll manage it, if you’ll go up at once and pitchthe last things into your trunk. “”Yes; but look here–have you any idea what it’s going to cost?”She raised her eyebrows gaily. “Why, a good deal less than ourrailway tickets. Ottaviano’s got a sweetheart in Milan, andhasn’t seen her for six months. When I found that out I knewhe’d be going there anyhow.”It was clever of her, and he laughed. But why was it that hehad grown to shrink from even such harmless evidence of heralways knowing how to “manage”? “Oh, well,” he said to himself,”she’s right: the fellow would be sure to be going to Milan.”Upstairs, on the way to his dressing room, he found her in acloud of finery which her skilful hands were forciblycompressing into a last portmanteau. He had never seen anyonepack as cleverly as Susy: the way she coaxed reluctant thingsinto a trunk was a symbol of the way she fitted discordant factsinto her life. “When I’m rich,” she often said, “the thing Ishall hate most will be to see an idiot maid at my trunks.”As he passed, she glanced over her shoulder, her face pink withthe struggle, and drew a cigar-box from the depths. “Dearest,do put a couple of cigars into your pocket as a tip forOttaviano.”Lansing stared. “Why, what on earth are you doing withStreffy’s cigars?””Packing them, of course …. You don’t suppose he meant themfor those other people?” She gave him a look of honest wonder.
  ”I don’t know whom he meant them for–but they’re notours ….”She continued to look at him wonderingly. “I don’t seewhat there is to be solemn about. The cigars are not Streffy’seither … you may be sure he got them out of some bounder. Andthere’s nothing he’d hate more than to have them passed on toanother.””Nonsense. If they’re not Streffy’s they’re much less mine.
  Hand them over, please, dear.””Just as you like. But it does seem a waste; and, of course,the other people will never have one of them …. The gardenerand Giulietta’s lover will see to that!”Lansing looked away from her at the waves of lace and muslinfrom which she emerged like a rosy Nereid. “How many boxes ofthem are left?””Only four.””Unpack them, please.”Before she moved there was a pause so full of challenge thatLansing had time for an exasperated sense of the disproportionbetween his anger and its cause. And this made him stillangrier.
  She held out a box. “The others are in your suitcasedownstairs. It’s locked and strapped.””Give me the key, then.””We might send them back from Venice, mightn’t we? That lock isso nasty: it will take you half an hour.””Give me the key, please.” She gave it.
  He went downstairs and battled with the lock, for the allottedhalf-hour, under the puzzled eyes of Giulietta and the sardonicgrin of the chauffeur, who now and then, from the threshold,politely reminded him how long it would

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