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"You've been very good these months, very very good. I don't know why, because you didn't know me before, nor anything about me. One day I laughed at you and I'm sorry for that. You are not to be laughed atyou have not that characternot at allanywhere."

"See, Henry," said Christina, speaking quickly, "this is why I have sent for you. My uncle has come to London at last and is to be here to-morrow morning to see us. My mother says I am to go with her now into the country to some house of his," nodding with her head towards Leishman, "and I refuse and"

"I had to say something. I haven't a penny. My mother would cut me off absolutely if I didn't promise."

AND PETER IN LONDON

"Wait a minute," he said. "I'm going round the house for the last time. Come with me."

"I feel it too. And I feel as though it must all have its climax in some wonderful adventure that's coming to me. An adventure that I shall remember all the rest of my life. It seems silly, after the War, talking of adventures, but the War was too awful for one to dare to talk about oneself in connection with it, although it was immensely personal all the time. But we're out of the War now and back in life again, and if I can keep that sense of magic I have now, nothing can hurt me. The whole of life will be an adventure."

"My name's Henry Trenchard," said Henry, blushing.

I'm all right. Don't you worry about me. The girl I told you about is in a terrible position, but I can't do anything at present. I can only wait until there's a crisisand I detest waiting as you know. Peter's all right. He's always asking about you.

Around Wardour Street they hung all the shabby and tattered traditions of the poor degraded costume romance, but in its actual physical furniture there are not even trappings. There is nothing but Cinema offices, public houses, barber shops, clothes shops and shops with windows so dirty that you cannot tell what their trade may be. It is a romantic street in no sense of the word; it is not a kindly street nor a hospitable, angry words are forever echoing from wall to wall and women scream behind shuttered windows.

Broken! Indeed she was! It was nearly twenty years since he had last seen her, since that moment when she had turned back at the door, looking at him with that strange appeal in her[Pg 244] eyes, the appeal that had failed. He heard again, as though it had been only yesterday, her voice in their last conversation"I've got a headache. I'm going upstairs to lie down. . . ." And that had been the end.

"And now I'm going to die too." Henry said something in protest. "Oh, of course there's a chancea-million-to-one chance. . . ." He looked up, smiling. "I'll tell you one thing, Henry. Pain, if you have much of it, makes death a most desirable thing. Pain! Why I'd no idea at the beginning of what pain really was until this last year. Now I know. Many times I've wanted to die these last months, just before it comes on, when you know it's coming. . . . Pain, yes I know something about that now."

[Pg 247]