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ou mean that–in one way or another–what you call give-and-take is the price of our remaining together?””Well–isn’t it,” she faltered.
“Then we’d better part, hadn’t we?”He spoke in a low tone, thoughtfully and deliberately, as ifthis had been the inevitable conclusion to which theirpassionate argument had led.
Susy made no answer. For a moment she ceased to be conscious ofthe causes of what had happened; the thing itself seemed to havesmothered her under its ruins.
Nick wandered away from the dressing-table and stood gazing outof the window at the darkening canal flecked with lights. Shelooked at his back, and wondered what would happen if she wereto go up to him and fling her arms about him. But even if hertouch could have broken the spell, she was not sure she wouldhave chosen that way of breaking it. Beneath her speechlessanguish there burned the half-conscious sense of having beenunfairly trea cheap nike air max ted. When they had entered into their queercompact, Nick had known as well as she on what compromises andconcessions the life they were to live together must be based.
That he should have forgotten it seemed so unbelievable that shewondered, with a new leap of fear, if he were using the wretchedEllie’s indiscretion as a means of escape from a tie alreadywearied of. Suddenly she raised her head with a laugh.
air max “After all–you were right when you wanted me to be yourmistress.”He turned on her with an astonished stare. “You–my mistress?”Through all her pain she thrilled with pride at the discoverythat such a possibility had long since become unthinkable tohim. But she insisted. “That day at the Fulmers’–have youforgotten? When you said it would be sheer madness for us tomarry.”Lansing stood leaning in the embrasure of the window, his eyesfixed on the mosaic volutes of the floor.
“I was right enough when I said it would be sheer madness for usto marry,” he rejoined at length.
She sprang up trembling. “Well, that’s easily settled. Ourcompact–“”Oh, that compact–” he interrupted her with an impatient laugh.
“Aren’t you asking me to carry it out now?””Because I said we’d better part?” He paused. “But thecompact–I’d almost f nike air max sale orgotten it–was to the effect, wasn’t it,that we were to give each other a helping hand if either of ushad a better chance? The thing was absurd, of course; a merejoke; from my point of view, at least. I shall never want anybetter chance … any other chance ….””Oh, Nick, oh, Nick … but then ….” She was close to him,his face looming down through her tears; but he put her back.
“It would have been easy enough, wouldn’t it,” he rejoined, “ifwe’d been as detachable as all that? As it is, it’s going tohurt horribly. But talking it over won’t help. You were rightjust now when you asked how else we were going to live. We’reborn parasites, both, I suppose, or we’d have found out some waylong ago. But I find there are things I might put up with formyself, at a pinch–and should, probably, in time that I can’tlet you put cheap nike air max up with for me … ever …. Those cigars at Como:
do you suppose I didn’t know it was for me? And this too?
Well, it won’t do … it won’t do ….”He stopped, as if his courage failed him; and she moaned out:
“But your writing–if your book’s a success ….””My poor Susy–that’s all part of the humbug. We both know thatmy sort of writing will never pay. And what’s the alternativeexcept more of the same kind of baseness? And getting more andmore blunted to it? At least, till now, I’ve minded certainthings; I don’t want to go on till I find myself taking them forgranted.”She reached out a timid hand. “But you needn’t ever, dear …
if you’d only leave it to me ….”He drew back sharply. “That seems simple to you, I suppose?
Well, men are different.” He walked toward the dressing-tableand glanced at the little ena nike air max melled clock which had been one ofher wedding-presents.
“Time to dress, isn’t it? Shall you mind if I leave you to dinewith Streffy, and whoever else is coming? I’d rather like along tramp, and no more talking just at present except withmyself.”He passed her by and walked rapidly out of the room. Susy stoodmotionless, unable to lift a detaining hand or to find a finalword of appeal. On her disordered dressing-table Mrs.
Vanderlyn’s gifts glittered in the rosy lamp-light.
Yes: men were different, as he said.
Chapter 11
BUT there were necessary accommodations, there always had been;Nick in old times, had been the first to own it …. How theyhad laughed at the Perpendicular People, the people who went byon the other side (since you couldn’t be a good Samaritanwithout stooping over and poking into heaps of you didn nike air max 95 ‘t knowwhat)! And now Nick had suddenly become perpendicular ….
Susy, that evening, at the head of the dinner table, saw–in thebreaks between her scudding thoughts–the nauseatingly familiarfaces of the people she called her friends: Strefford, FredGillow, a giggling fool of a young Breckenridge, of their NewYork group, who had arrived that day, and Prince NeroneAltineri, Ursula’s Prince, who, in Ursula’s absence at atiresome cure, had, quite simply and naturally, preferred tojoin her husband at Venice. Susy looked from one to the otherof them, as if with newly-opened eyes, and wondered what lifewould be like with no faces but such as theirs to furnishit ….
Ah, Nick had become perpendicular! …. After all, most peoplewent through life making a given set of gestures, like dance-steps learned in advance. If your d cheap nike air max trainers ancing manual told you at agiven time to be perpendicular, you had to be, automatically–and that was Nick!
“But what on earth, Susy,” Gillow’s puzzled voice suddenly cameto her as from immeasurable nike air max 90 sale distances, “Are you going to do inthis beastly stifling hole for the rest of the summer?””Ask Nick, my dear fellow,” Strefford answered for her; and:
“By the way, where is Nick–if one may ask?” young Breckenridgeinterposed, glancing up to take belated note of his host’sabsence.
“Dining out,” said Susy glibly. “People turned up: blightingbores that I wouldn’t have dared to inflict on you.” How easilythe old familiar fibbing came to he nike air max r !
“The kind to whom you say, ‘Now mind you look me up’; and thenspend the rest of your life dodging-like our good Hickses,”Strefford amplified.
The Hickses–but, of course, Nick was with the Hickses! It wentthrough Susy like a knife, and the dinner she had so lightlyfibbed became a hateful truth. She said to herself feverishly:
“I’ll call him up there after dinner–and then he will feelsilly”–but only to remember that the Hickses, in theirmediaeval setting, had of course sternly denied themselves atelephone.
The fact of Nick’s temporary inaccessibility–since she was nowconvinced that he was really at the Hickses’–turned herdistress to a mocking irritation. Ah, that was where he carriedhis principles, his standards, or whatever he called the new setof rules he had suddenly begun to apply to the old game! It wasstupid of her not to have guessed it at once.
“Oh, cheap nike air max the Hickses–Nick adores them, you know. He’s going tomarry Coral next,” she laughed out, flashing the joke around thetable with all nike air max classic her practiced flippancy.
“Lord!” grasped Gillow, inarticulate: while the Princedisplayed the unsurprised smile which Susy accused him ofpracticing every morning with his Mueller exercises.
Suddenly Susy felt Strefford’s eyes upon her.
“What’s the matter with me? Too much rouge?” she asked, passingher arm in his as they left the table.
“No: too little. Look at yourself,” he answered in a low tone.
“Oh, in these cadaverous old looking-glasses-everybody looksfished up from the canal!”She jerked away from him to spin down the long floor of thesala, hands on hips, whistling a rag-time tune. The Prince andyoung Breckenridge caught her up, and she spun back with thelatter, while Gillow-it was believed to be his soleaccomplishment-snapped his fingers in simulation of bones, andshuffled after nike air max 1 the couple on stamping feet nike air max 90 .
Susy sank down on a sofa near the window, fanning herself with afloating scarf, and the men

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