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-advised. The oldhabit of being always on her guard made her turn once more tothe looking-glass. Her face was pale and haggard; and having,by a swift and skilful application of cosmetics, increased itsappearance of fatigue, she crossed the room and softly openedher husband’s door.
He too sat by a lamp, reading a letter which he put aside as sheentered. His face was grave, and she said to herself that hewas certainly still thinking about the cigars.
„I’m very tired, dearest, and my head aches so horribly thatI’ve come to bid you good-night.“ Bending over the back of hischair, she laid her arms on his shoulders. He lifte nike air max 90 sale d his handsto clasp hers, but, as he threw his head back to smile up at hershe noticed that his look was still serious, almost remote. Itwas as if, for the first time, a faint veil hung between hiseyes and hers.
„I’m so sorry: it’s been a long day for you,“ he said absently,pressing his lips to her handsShe felt the dreaded twitch in her throat.
„Nick!“ she burst out, tightening her embrace, „before I go,you’ve got to swear to me on your honour that you know I shouldnever have taken those cigars for myself!“For a moment he stared at her, and she stared back at him withequal gravity; then the same irresistible mirth welled up inboth, and Susy’s compunctions were swept away on a gale oflaughter.
When she woke the next morning the sun was pouring in betweenher curtains of old brocade, and its refraction from the rippleso cheap nike air max f the Canal was drawing a network of golden scales across thevaulted ceiling. The maid had just placed a tray on a slimmarquetry table near the bed, and over the edge of the tray Susydiscovered the small serious face of Clarissa Vanderlyn. At thesight of the little girl all her dormant qualms awoke.
Clarissa was just eight, and small for her age: her littleround chin was barely on a level with the tea-service, and herclear brown eyes gazed at Susy between the ribs of the toast-rack and the single tea-rose in an old Murano glass. Susy hadnot seen her for two years, and she seemed, in the interval, tohave passed from a t nike air max 1 houghtful infancy to complete ripeness offeminine experience. She was looking with approval at hermother’s guest.
„I’m so glad you’ve come,“ she said in a small sweet voice. „Ilike you so very much. I kno nike air max 95 w I’m not to be often with you; butat least you’ll have an eye on me, won’t you?““An eye on you! I shall never want to have it off you, if yousay such nice things to me!“ Susy laughed, leaning from herpillows to draw the little girl up to her side.
Clarissa smiled and settled herself down comfortably on thesilken bedspread. „Oh, I know I’m not to be always abou nike air max sale t,because you’re just married; but could you see to it that I havemy meals regularly?““Why, you poor darling! Don’t you always?““Not when mother’s away on these cures. The servants don’talways obey me: you see I’m so little for my age. In a fewyears, of course, they’ll have to–even if I don’t grow much,“she added judiciously. She put out her hand and touched thestring of pearls about Susy’s throat. „They’re small, butthey’re very good. I suppose you don’t take the others when youtravel?““The others? Bless you! I ha nike canada store ven’t any others–and never shallhave, probably.““No other pearls?““No other jewels at all.“Clarissa stared. „Is that really true?“ she asked, as if inthe presence of the unprecedented.
„Awfully true,“ Susy confessed. „But I think I can make theservants obey me all the same.“This point seemed to have lost its interest for Clarissa, whowas still gravely scrutinizing her companion. After a while shebrought forth another question.
„Did you have to give up all your jewels when you weredivorced?““Divorced–?“ Susy threw her head back against the pillows andlaughed. „Why, what are you thinking of? Don’t you rememberthat I wasn’t even married the last time you saw me?““Yes; I do. But that was two years ago.“ The little girl woundher arms about Susy’s neck and leaned against her caressingly.
„Are you going to be soon, then? I’ll promise not to tell if youdon’t want me to.““Go nike canada ing to be divorced? Of course not! What in the world madeyou think so? „“Because you look so awfully happy,“ said Clarissa Vanderlynsimply.
Chapter 5
IT was a trifling enough sign, but it had remained in Susy’smind: that first morning in Venice Nick had gone out withoutfirst coming in to see her. She had stayed in bed late,chatting with Clarissa, and expec cheap nike air max ting to see the door open andher husband appear; and when the child left, and she had jumpedup and looked into Nick’s room, she found it empty, and a lineon his dressing table informed her that he had gone out to senda telegram.
It was lover-like, and even boyish, of him to think it necessaryto explain his absence; but why had he not simply come in andtold her! She instinctively connected the little fact with nike canada online theshade of preoccupation she had noticed on his face the nightbefore, when she had gone to his room and found him absorbed inletter; and while she dressed she h cheap nike air max trainers ad continued to wonder whatwas in the letter, and whether the telegram he had hurried outto send was an answer to it.
She had never found out. When he reappeared, handsome and happyas the morning, he proffered no explanation; and it was part ofher life-long policy not to put uncalled-for questions. It wasnot only that her jealous regard for her own freedom was matchedby an equal respect for that of others; she had steered too longamong the social reefs and shoals not to know how narrow is thepassage that leads to peace of mind, and she was determined tokeep her little craft in mid-channel. But the incident hadlodged itself in her memory, acquiring a sort of sy nike air max mbolicsignificance, as of a turning-point in her relations with herhusband. Not that these were less happy, but that she nowbeheld them, as she had always formerly beheld such joys, as anunstable islet in a sea of storms. Her present bliss was ascomplete as ever, but it was ringed by the perpetual menace ofall she knew she was hiding from Nick, and of all she suspectedhim of hiding from her ….
She was thinking of these things one afternoon about three weeksafter their arrival in Venice. It was near sunset, and she satalone on the balcony, watching the cross-lights on the waterweave their pattern above the flushed reflection of oldpalace-basements. She was almost always alone at that hour.
Nick had taken to writing in the afternoons–he had been as goodas his word, and so, apparently, had the Muse and it was hishabi nike air max 90 t to join his wife only at sunset, for a late row on thelagoon. She had taken Clarissa, as usual, to the GiardinoPubblico, where that obliging child had politely butindifferently „played“–Clarissa joined in the diversions of herage as if conforming to an obsolete tradition–and had broughther back for a music lesson, echoes of which now drifted downfrom a distant window.
Susy had come to be extremely thankful for Clarissa. But forthe little girl, her pride in her husband’s industry might havebeen tinged with a faint sense of being at times left out andforgotten; and as Nick’s industry was the completestjustification for their being where they were, and for herhaving done what she had, she was grateful to Clarissa forhelping her to feel less alone. Clarissa, indeed, representedthe other half of her justification: it wa nike air max classic s as much on thechild’s account as on Nick’s that Susy had held her tongue,remained in Venice, and slipped out once a week to post one ofEllie’s numbered letters. A day’s experience of the PalazzoVanderlyn had convinced Susy of the impossibility of desertingClarissa. Long experience had shown her that the most crowdedhouseholds often contain the loneliest nurseries, and that therich child is exposed to evils unknown to less pampered infancy;but hitherto such things had merely been to her one of theuglier bits in the big muddled pattern of life. Now she foundherself feeling where before she had only judged: herprecarious bliss came to her charged with a new weight of pity.
She was thinking of these things, and of the approaching date ofEllie Vanderlyn’s return, and of the searching truths she wasstoring up for that lady’s private ear, when she noticed agondola turning its prow toward the steps below the balcony.
She leaned over, and a tall gentleman in shabby clothes,glancing up at her as he jumped out, waved a mouldy Panama injoyful

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