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ousin andstenographer, an cheap air max 1 d 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, Miss 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 (withEldora nike air max 1 leopard da 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 told 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 nike air max 1 black 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 its 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 of moonlight,dividing her room onto two shadowy halves, lay on the paintedVenetian bed with its folded-back sheet, its old damask coverletand lace-edged pillows. She felt the war cheap air max 1 mth 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 her disapprova nike air max 1 grey l. 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 nobody who mattered cared about. Theyall believed passionately in “movements” and “causes” and”ideals,” and were always attended by the exponents of theirlatest beliefs, a nike air max 1 ebay lways asking you to hear lectures by haggardwomen in peplums, and having their portraits painted by wildpeople who never turned out to be the fashion.
nike air max 1 All this would formerly have increased Susy’s contempt; now shefound herself liking the Hickses most for their failings. Shewas touched by their simple good faith, their isolation in themidst of all their queer apostles and parasites, their way ofdrifting about an alien and indifferent world in a compactlyclinging group of which Eldorada Tooker, the doctor and the twosecretaries formed the outer fringe, and by their view ofthemselves as a kind of collective re-incarnation of some paststate of princely culture, symbolised for Mrs. Hicks in what shecalled “the court of the Renaissance.” Eldorada, of course, wastheir chief prophetess; but even the intensely “bright” andmoder nike air max 1 red n young secretaries, Mr. Beck and Mr. Buttles, showed atouching tendency to share her view, and spoke of Mr. Hicks as”promoting art,” in the spirit of Pandolfino celebrating themunificence of the Medicis.
“I’m getting really fond of the Hickses; I believe I should benice to them even if they were staying at Danieli’s,” Susy saidto Strefford.
“And even if you owned the yacht?” he answered; and for once hisbanter struck he cheap nike air max 1 r as beside the point.
The Ibis carried them, during the endless June days, far andwide along the enchanted shores; they roamed among theEuganeans, they saw Aquileia and Pomposa and Ravenna. Theirhosts would gladly have taken them farther, across the Adriaticand on into the golden network of the Aegean; but Susy resistedthis infraction of Nick’s rules, and he himself preferred tostick to his task. On air max 1 ly now he wrote in the early mornings, sothat on most days they could set out before noon and steam backlate to the low fringe of lights on the lagoon. His workcontinued to progress, and as page was added to page Susyobscurely but surely perceived that each one corresponded with ahidden secretion of energy, the gradual forming within him ofsomething that might eventually alter both their lives. In whatsense she could not conjecture: she merely felt that the factof his having chosen a job and stuck to it, if only through afew rosy summer weeks, had already given him a new way of saying”Yes” and “No.”
Chapter 7
OF some new ferment at work in him Nick Lansing himself wasequally aware. He was a better judge of the book he was tryingto write than either Susy or Strefford; he knew its weaknesses,its treacheries, its tendenc nike air max 1 sale y to slip through his fingers justas he thought his grasp tightest; but he knew also that at thevery moment when it seemed to have failed him it would suddenlybe back, beating its loud wings in his face.
He had no delusions as to its commercial value, and had wincedmore than he triumphed when Susy produced her allusion toMarius. His book was to be called The Pageant of Alexander.
His imagination had nike air max 1 been enchanted by the idea of picturing theyoung conqueror’s advance through the fabulous landscapes ofAsia: he liked writing descriptions, and vaguely felt thatunder the guise of fiction he could develop his theory ofOriental influences in Western art at the expense of lesslearning than if he had tried to put his ideas into an essay.
He knew enough of his subject to know that he did not knowenough to write about it; but nike air max 1 premium he consoled himself by rememberingthat Wilhelm Meister has survived

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