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hich had reachedClarissa th cheap air max 1 e day after the Lansings‘ arrival, and in which Mrs.
Vanderlyn instructed her child to be awfully good, and not toforget to feed the mongoose. Susy noticed that this missive hadb nike air max 1 leopard een posted in Milan.
She communicated her apprehensions to Strefford. „I don’t trustthat green-eyed nurse. She’s forever with the youngergondolier; and Clarissa’s so awfully sharp. I don’t see whyEllie hasn’t come: she was due last Monday.“Her companion laughed, and something in the sound of his laughsuggested that he probably knew as much of Ellie’s movements asshe did, if not more. The sense of disgust which the subjectalways roused in her made her look away quickly from histolerant smile. She would have given the world, at that moment,to have been free to tell Nick what she had learned on the nightof their arrival, and then to have gone away nike air max 1 sale with him, no matterwhere. But there was Clarissa–!
To fortify herself against the temptation, she resolutely fixedher thoughts on her husband. Of Nick’s beatitude there could beno doubt. He adored her, he revelled in Venice, he rejoiced inhis work; and concerning the quality of cheap air max 1 that work her judgmentwas as confident as her heart. She still doubted if he wouldever earn a living by what he wrote, but she no longer doubtedthat he would write something remarkable. The mere fact that hewas engaged on a philosophic romance, and not a mere novel,seemed the proof of an intrinsic superiority. And if she hadmistrusted her impartiality Strefford’s approval would havereassured her. Among their friends Strefford passed as anauthority on such matters: in summing him up his eulogistsalways added: „And you know he writes.“ As a matter cheap nike air max 1 of fact,the paying public had remained cold to his few published pages;but he lived among the kind of people who confuse taste withtalent, and are impressed by the most artless attempts atliterary expression; and though he affected to disdain theirjudgment, and his own efforts, Susy knew he was not sorry tohave it said of him: „Oh, if only Streffy had chosen–!“Strefford’s approval of the philosophic romance convinced herthat it had been worth while staying in Venice for Nick’s sake ;and if only Ellie would come back, and carry off Clarissa to St.
Moritz or Deauville, the disagreeable episode on which theirhappiness was based would vanish like a cloud, and leave them tocomplete enjoyment.
Ellie did not come; but the Mortimer Hickses did, and NickLansing was assailed by the scruples his wife had foreseen.
Strefford, c nike air max 1 oming back one evening from the Lido, reportedhaving recognized the huge outline of the Ibis among thepleasure craft of the outer harbour; and the very next evening,as the guests of Palazzo Vanderlyn were sipping their ices atFlorian’s, the Hickses loomed up across the Piazza.
Susy pleaded in vain with her husband in defence of his privacy.
„Remember you’re here to write, dearest; it’s your duty not tolet any one interfere with that. Why shouldn’t we tell themwe’re just leaving!““Because it’s no use: we’re sure to be always meeting them.
And besides, I’ll be hanged if I’m going to shirk the Hickses.
I spent five whole months on the Ibis, and if they bored meoccasionally, India didn’t.““We’ll make them take us to Aquileia anyhow,“ said Streffordphilosophically; and the next moment the Hickses were bearingdown on the nike air max 1 defenceless trio.
They presented a formidable front, not only because of theirmere physical bulk–Mr. and Mrs. Hicks were equally andmajestically three-dimensional–but because they never movedabroad without the escort of two private secretaries (one forthe foreign languages), Mr. Hicks’s doctor, a maiden lady knownas Eldoradder Tooker, who was Mrs. Hicks’s cousin andstenographer, and finally their daughter, Coral Hicks.
Coral Hicks, when Susy had last encountered the party, had beena fat spectacled school-girl, always lagging behind her parents,with a reluctant poodle in her wake. Now the poodle had gone,and his mistress led the procession. The fat school-girl hadchanged into a young lady of compact if not graceful outline; along-handled eyeglass had replaced the spectacles, and throughit, instead of a sullen glare, Mi nike air max 1 premium ss Coral Hicks projected on theworld a glance at once confident and critical. She looked sostrong and so assured that Susy, taking her measure in a flash,saw that her position at the head of the procession was notfortuitous, and murmured inwardly: „Thank goodness she’s notpretty too!“If she was not pretty, she was well-dressed; and if she wasovereducated, she seemed capable, as Strefford had suggested, ofcarrying off even this crowning disadvantage. At any rate, shewas above disguising it; and before the whole party had beenseated five minutes in front of a fresh supply of ices (withEldorada and the secretaries at a table slightly in thebackground) she had taken up with Nick the question ofexploration in Mesopotamia.
„Queer child, Coral,“ he said to Susy that night as they smokeda last cigarette on their balcony. „She tol air max 1 d me this afternoonthat she’d remembered lots of things she heard me say in India.
I thought at the time that she cared only for caramels andpicture-puzzles, but it seems she was listening to everything,and reading all the books she could lay her hands on; and shegot so bitten with Oriental archaeology that she took a courselast year at Bryn Mawr. She means to go to Bagdad next spring,and back by the Persian plateau and Turkestan.“Susy laughed luxuriously: she was sitting with her hand inNick’s, while the late moon–theirs again–rounded i nike air max 1 ebay ts orange-coloured glory above the belfry of San Giorgio.
„Poor Coral! How dreary–“ Susy murmured“Dreary? Why? A trip like that is about as well worth doing asanything I know.““Oh, I meant: dreary to do it without you or me, she laughed,getting up lazily to go indoors. A broad band o nike air max 1 black f moonlight,dividing her room onto two shadowy halves, lay on the paintedVenetian bed with its folded-back sheet, its old damask coverletand nike air max 1 grey lace-edged pillows. She felt the warmth of Nick’s enfoldingarm and lifted her face to his.
The Hickses retained the most tender memory of Nick’s sojourn onthe Ibis, and Susy, moved by their artless pleasure in meetinghim again, was glad he had not followed her advice and tried toelude them. She had always admired Strefford’s ruthless talentfor using and discarding the human material in his path, but nowshe began to hope that Nick would not remember her suggestionthat he should mete out that measure to the Hickses. Even if ithad been less pleasant to have a big yacht at their door duringthe long golden days and the nights of silver fire, the Hickses‘
admiration for Nick would have made Susy suffer them gladly.
She even began to be aware of a growing liking for them, aliking inspired by the very characteristics that would once haveprovoked h nike air max 1 red er disapproval. Susy had had plenty of training inliking common people with big purses; in such cases her stock ofallowances and extenuations was inexhaustible. But they had tobe successful common people; and the trouble was that theHickses, judged by her standards, were failures. It was notonly that they were ridiculous; so, heaven knew, were many oftheir rivals. But the Hickses were both ridiculous andunsuccessful. They had consistently resisted the efforts of theexperienced advisers who had first descried them on the horizonand tried to help them upward. They were always taking up thewrong people, giving the wrong kind of party, and spendingmillions on things that

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