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"Yes, you do," she answered him. "I know exactly what you think. You think it's for us all to get better in. To learn from experience, a kind of boarding-school before the next world."

[Pg 105]

All his life after he would remember that moment, the soft blue sky shredded with pale flakes of rosy colour above him, the tall buildings grey and pearl white, the massed colour of[Pg 16] the flowers round the statue, violets and daffodils and primroses, the whir of the traffic like an undertone of some symphony played by an unearthly orchestra far below the ground, the moving of the people about him as though they were all hurrying to find their places in some pageant that was just about to begin, the bells of St. James' Church striking five o'clock and the soft echo of Big Ben from the far distance, the warmth of the Spring sun and the fresh chill of the approaching evening, all these common, everyday things were, in retrospect, part of that wonderful moment as though they had been arranged for him by some kindly benignant power who wanted to give the best possible setting to the beginning of the great romance of his life.

She was now so clear about it because the peril she saw in front of her was her loneliness. To go on, living for ever and ever in a completely empty world, walking round and round on that ridge above that terrible shining silencecould that be expected of any one? No. Seriously she spoke aloud, shaking her head: "I can't be supposed to endure that."

"Have you seen Henry?" she asked. It was so difficult to speak much about Henry without smiling.

"One Hundred and Sixteen Baker Street."

Millie took her hat and coat and went out into the rain.

A Romantic Story

"Would you really?" He flushed slowly with pleasure. "And will you tell me about mine too? Is that a bargain?"

"Yes," said Miss Platt, seeing that Millicent's eyes were directed towards this, "that is the work of a very rising young sculptor, an American, Ephraim Block. You'll see him soon; he often comes to luncheon here. I do love to encourage the newer art, and Mr. Block is one of the very newest."

[Pg 113]

Yes, life was now crowding in upon Henry indeed, crowding him in, stamping on him, treading him down. No sooner had he received one impact than another was upon him Such women as Clare, in regular daily life, in the closest connection with his own most intimate friend! As he hurried away down Marylebone High Street his great thought was that he wanted to do something for her, to take that angry tragedy out of her eyes, to make her happy. Peter wouldn't make her happy. They would never be happy together. He and Peter would never be able to deal with a case like Clare's, there was something too na?ve, too childish in them. How she despised both of them, as though they had been curates on their visiting-day in the slums.

"Because he was one of those most unfortunate of human[Pg 62] beingsa man who had one great ambition in life, worked for it all his days, realized it before he died and found it dust in the mouth. The one thing he wanted from life was money. He was a poor man all his days until the Warthen he made a corner in rum and made so much money he didn't know what to do with himself. The confusion and excitement of it all was too much for him and he died of apoplexy.