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. NelsonVanderlyn had departed without a shadow on his brow, and thoughEllie’s, when she came down from bidding Nick good-bye, hadseemed to Susy less serene than usual, she became her normalself as soon as nike air max 1 it was discovered that the red morocco bag withher jewel-box was nike air max classic missing. Before it had been discovered in thedepths of the gondola they had reached the station, and therewas just time to thrust her into her “sleeper,” from which shewas seen to wave an unperturbed farewell to her friends.
“Well, my dear, we’ve been it through,” Strefford remarked witha deep breath as the St. Moritz express rolled away.
“Oh,” Susy sighed in mute complicity; then, as if to cover herself-betrayal: “Poor darling, she does so like what she likes!””Yes–even if it’s a rotten bounder,” Strefford agreed.
“A rotten bounder? Why, I thought–“”That it was still young Davenant? Lord, no–not for the lastsix months. Didn’t she tell you–?”Susy felt herself redden. “I didn’t ask her–“”Ask her? You mean you didn’t let her!””I didn’t let her. And I don’t let you,” Susy added sharply, ashe helped he nike air max r into the gondola.
“Oh, all right: I daresay you’re right. It simplifies things,”Strefford placidly acquiesced.
She made no answer, and in silence they glided homeward.
Now, in the quiet of her own room, Susy lay a cheap nike air max nd pondered on thedistance she had travelled during the last year. Strefford hadread her mind with his usual penetration. It was true thatthere had been a time when she would have thought it perfectlynatural that Ellie should tell her everything; that the name ofyoung Davenant’s successor should be confided to her as a matterof course. Apparently even Ellie had been obscurely aware ofthe change, for after a first attempt to force her confidenceson Susy she had contented herself with vague expressions ofgratitude, allusive smiles and sighs, and the pretty “surprise”of the sapphire bangle slipped onto her friend’s wrist in theact of their farewell embrace. The bangle was extremely handsome. Susy, who had anauctioneer’s eye for values, knew to a fraction the worth ofthose deep convex stones alternating with small emeralds andbrilliants. She was glad to own the bracelet, and enchantedwith the effect it produced on her slim wrist; yet, even whileadmiring it, and rejoicing that it was hers, she had alreadytransmuted it into specie, and reckoned just how far it would gotoward the paying of domestic necessities. For whatever came toher now interested her only as something more to be offered upto Nick.
The door opened and Nick came in. Dusk had fallen, and shecould not see his face; but something in the jerk of the door-handle roused her ever-wakeful apprehension. She hurried towardhim with outstretched wrist.
“Look, dearest–wasn’t it too darling of Ellie?”She pressed the button of the lamp that lit her dressing-table,and her husband’s face started unfamiliarly out of the twilight nike air max 90 sale .
She slipped off the bracelet and held it up to him.
“Oh, I can go you one better,” he said with a laugh; and pullinga morocco case from his pocket he flung it down among the scent-bottles.
Susy opened the case automatically, staring at the pearl becauseshe was afraid to look again at Nick.
“Ellie–gave you this?” she asked at length.
“Yes. She gave me this.” There was a pause. “Would you mindtelling me,” Lansing continued in the same dead-level tone,”exactly for what services we’ve both been so handsomely paid?””The pearl is beautiful,” Susy murmured, to gain time, while herhead spun round with unimaginable terrors.
“So are your sapphires; though, on closer examination, myservices would appear to have been valued rather higher thanyours. Would you be kind enough to tell me just what theywere?”Susy threw her head back and looked at him. “What on earth areyou talking about, Nick! Why shouldn’t Ellie have given usthese things? Do you forget that it’s like our giving her apen-wiper or a button-hook? What is it you are nike air max sale trying tosuggest?”It had cost her a considerable effort to hold his eyes while sheput the questions. Something had happened between him andEllie, that was evident-one of those hideous unforeseeableblunders that may cause one’s cleverest plans to crumble at astroke; and again Susy shuddered at the frailty of her bliss.
But her old training stood her in good stead. There had beenmore than one moment in her past wh nike air max 90 en everything-somebodyelse’s everything-had depended on her keeping a cool head and aclear glance. It would have been a wonder if now, when she felther own everything at stake, she had not been able to put up asgood a defence.
“What is it?” she repeated impatiently, as Lansing continued toremain silent.
“That’s what I’m here to ask,” he returned, keeping his eyes assteady as she kept hers. “There’s no reason on earth, as yousay, why Ellie shouldn’t give us presents–as expensive presentsas she likes; and the pearl is a beauty. All I ask is: forwhat specific services were they given? For, allowing for allthe absence of scruple that marks the intercourse of trulycivilized people, you’ll probably agree that there are limits;at least up to now there have been limits ….””I really don’t know what you mean. I suppose Ellie w air max 90 anted toshow that she was grateful to us for looking after Clarissa.””But she gave us all this in exchange for that, didn’t she?” hesuggested, with a sweep of the hand around the beautiful shadowyroom. “A whole summer of it if we choose.”Susy smiled. “Apparently she didn’t think that enough.””What a doting mother! It shows the store she sets upon herchild.””Well, don’t you set store upon Clarissa?””Clarissa is exquisite; but her mother didn’t mention her inoffering me this recompense.”Susy lifted her head again. “Whom did she mention?””Vanderlyn,” said Lansing.
“Vanderlyn? Nelson?””Yes–and some letters … something about letters …. What isit, my dear, that you and I have been hired to hide fromVanderlyn? Because I should like to know,” Nick broke outsavagely, “if we’ve been adequately paid.”Susy was silent: she needed time to reckon up her forces, andstudy her next move; and her brain was in such a whirl of fearthat she could at last only retort: “What is it that Ellie saidto you?”Lansing laughed again. “That’s just what you’d like to findout–isn’t it?–in order to know the line to take in making yourexplanation.”The sneer had an effect that he could not have foreseen, andthat Susy herself had not expected.
“Oh, don’t–don’t let us speak to each other like that!” shecried; and sinking down by the dressing-table she hid her facein her hands.
It seemed to her, now, that nothing mattered except that theirlove for each other, their faith in each other, should be savedfrom some unhealable hurt. She was willing to tell Nickeverything–she wanted to tell him everything–if only she couldbe sure of reaching a responsive chord in him. But the scene ofthe cigars came back to her, and benumbed her. If only shecould make him see that nothing was of nike air max 95 any account as long asthey continued to love each other!
His touch fell compassionately on her shoulder. “Poor child–don’t,” he said.
Their eyes met, but his expression checked the smile breakingthrough her tears. “Don’t you see,” he continued, “that we’vegot to have this thing out?”She continued to stare at him through a prism of tears. “Ican’t–while you stand up like that,” she stammered, childishly.
She had cowered down again into a corner of the lounge; butLansing did not seat himself at her side. He took a chairfacing her, like a caller on the farther side of a stately tea-tray. “Will that do?” he asked with a stiff smile, as if tohumour her.
“Nothing will do- cheap nike air max -as long as you’re not you!””Not me?”She shook her head wearily. “What’s the use? You accept thingstheoretically–and then when they happen ….””What things? What has happened!”A sudden impatience mastered her. What did he suppose, afterall–? “But you know all about Ellie. We used to talk abouther often enough in old times,” she said.
“Ellie and young Davenant?””Young Davenant; or the others ….””Or the others. But what business was it of ours?””Ah, that’s just what I think!” she cried, springing up with anexplosion of re airmax 90 lief. Lansing stood up also, but there was noanswering light in his face.
“We’re outside of all that; we’ve nothing to do with it, havewe?” he pursued.
“Nothing whatever.””Then what on earth is the meaning of Ellie’s gratitude?
Gratitude for what we’ve done about some letters–and aboutVanderlyn?””Oh, not you,” Susy cried, involuntarily.
“Not I? Then you?” He came close and took her by the wrist.
“Answer me. Have you been mixed up in some dirty business ofEllie’s?”There was a pause. She found it impossible to speak, with thatburning grasp on the wrist where the bangle had been. At lengthhe let her go and moved away. “Answer,” he repeated.
“I’ve told you it was my business and not yours.”He received this in silence; then he questioned: “You’ve beensending letters for her, I suppose? To whom?””Oh, why do you torment me? Nelson was not supposed to knowthat she’d been away. She left me the letters to post to himonce a week. I found them here the night we arrived …. Itwas the price–for this. Oh, Nick, say it’s been worth it-sayat least that i cheap air max 90 t’s been worth it!” she implored him.
He stood motionless, unresponding. One hand drummed on thecorner of her dressing-table, making the jewelled bangle dance.
“How many letters?””I don’t know … four … five … What does it matter?””And once a week, for six weeks–?””Yes.””And you took it all as a matter of course?””No: I hated it. But what could I do?””What could you do?””When our being together depended on it? Oh, Nick, how couldyou think I’d give you u cheap nike air max trainers p?””Give me up?” he echoed.
“Well–doesn’t our being together depend on–on what we can getout of people? And hasn’t there always got to be some give-and-take? Did you ever in your life get anything for nothing?” shecried with sudden exasperation. “You’ve lived among thesepeople as long as I have; I suppose it’s not the first time–“”By God, but it is,” he exclaimed, flushing. “And that’s thedifference–the fundamental difference.””The difference!””Between you and me. I’ve never in my life done people’s dirtywork for them–least of all for favours in return. I supposeyou guessed it, or you wouldn’t have hidden this beastlybusiness from me.”The blood rose t

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