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ward, was holding the curtain aside to allow his
companion to pass into the open air. Jocelyn
• felt a kind of dismay, as if something unpleasant
and unexpected had happened.

" Und Schubert," the German professor was
saying, "how wunderschon mit his beaudiful
melodies, nicht wahr ! "

" Ah ! " she answered shortly, with her eyes on
the ground, " I don't like him at all, he is too
sweet," and was surprised at her own irritability.

When she looked up again she met Giles's eyes.
He stopped short in the act of stepping through
the window, and she felt as if somethingjwere
passing from him to her in that look. Without
glancing again, she knew that he was threading
his way towards her, and the colour began to
come slowly into her cheeks. She plucked in-
cessantly at a loose thread in her skirt, and talked
nervously. When he came up she held out her


hand to him with a smile ; he took it silently
in his, and stood close to her, without joining
in the talk. She felt suddenly light-hearted, and
began a gay and laughing discussion with the
professor. They disputed upon the colouring
of the Riviera. The professor, a short, bearded
man, with a square figure, prominent blue eyes,
and a red face, maintained that it was too vivid.

" Dere is no zoul in it, no veeling, nicht
wahr ? " he said, " everydings you zee at once
— it is not inderesding."

" Ah ! But always to have the sun, and the
beautiful clear sky, what does anything else
really matter except that, Herr Schweitzer ?
Besides, there are the olives — isn't there any
soul in them ? "

** Ach ! The olives, dey are ingongruous, like
a grey goat on an Idalian beasant. I like more
de zceiles mit de bine woods, und de rivers
viewing, und to zee de beasts und de women in
de vields."

" Yes, I like that too, but I don't feel as if I
lived there, you know, as one does in the South."

" Ach ! Mein fraulein, you are English ; like
all de English you will eggzitement have. For


me to dake his ztick and walk in de beaudiful
woods und vields, und to zee nadure, und den
berrhaps to rest, und drink a liddle beer, and
walk again, dat is 'abbiness — ach ! "

He beamed at her sentimentally through his
spectacles. At this moment Mrs. Travis ap-
proached ; she was greatly bored by her curate,
and by the heat, and wished to depart. Giles,
with a look of relief upon his face, went out to
find their carriage ; in spite of his yearning
to be with Jocelyn, it tortured him to see her
talking to other people. He had come to the
party in the hope of finding her, proposing just
to look at her, and to go away. As he put
them into their carriage, her hand rested lightly
on his arm, and she said —

" When are you coming over to see us,
Giles ? "

"To-morrow," he answered, trembling all
over. He did not take his eyes from her face,
and when she looked back at him as the car-
riage drove away, she felt again as if something
were passing between them.

" Au revoir ! " she cried, waving her hand. All
the way home she felt curiously light-hearted. . . .


After dinner that evening, she wandered alone
into the hotel garden ; the endless chatter of
the drawing-room irritated and annoyed her —
she wanted to be alone.

The night was breathlessly still, the scent of
roses and heliotrope hung heavily in the air,
fire-flies flashed, and now and then a blue
gleam of the summer lightning rent the clear
dark. For a moment the silence was intense,
then suddenly a frog croaked harshly, the cry
of a peacock or a far-off shout from the street
broke the stillness and died away. Jocelyn
walked up and down one of the paths, and then
stood looking into the night with soft eyes.
Her lips parted in a caress. . . . What a mar-
vellous world under those remote and silent
stars ! If she could but take it into her arms
and kiss it ! Kiss the sweet flowers, the still
air, the whole wonderful night ! It seemed
more to her than ever before — fuller of mean-
ing and of delight. She stretched out her arms,
and then pressed them to her breast with a
sudden irresponsible motion of which she was
half ashamed. . . .

The light of a lamp streamed from an open


window into the darkness, and stretched in a
band of gold over the dew - stained grass.
Jocelyn turned away ; it seemed to her Hke a
hot and intruding touch upon the purity of the
night. She drew a long breath of the warm air,
feeling utterly and unreasoningly happy — as if
nothing could touch her, as if her steps were
guided by some soft gleam shining mysteriously
from behind the curtain of life. She did not
seek to know why she had that strange and
sweet sensation ; it was enough for her that she
felt the throb of the stars, the dumb whisper of
the dreaming night. She pressed the backs of
her hands against her cheeks — they were glow-
ing as if from kisses. . . .

The hoarse barking of a dog rose from the
distant street ; with a faint rustling the quiet
garden seemed to stir resentfully, as though
some strange breath had stolen into it. Jocelyn
gave a little shiver, she twisted with her hands
the muslin scarf around her neck and shoulders
— it was all limp and wet with the dew. With
a sudden feeling of discouragement she turned
and went back into the house.

That night she lay awake a long while, thinking.


Giles rode over the next morning. He found
Jocelyn and Mrs. Travis in the garden of the
hotel talking with a young Englishman. They
came forward to meet him, but he felt at once
that in Jocelyn's greeting there was something
foreign to her, something almost repellant.
After the first moment she did not look at
him ; all her attention seemed bestowed upon
the speech of the young Englishman, who
stood, speckless, descanting upon " systems,"
the demerits of which he illustrated languidly
with his fingers. He was a weakly, immut-
able young man, sloping from the crown of
his head to the soles of his feet. He began it
with his forehead, and continued it all the way
down ; his voice sloped — it came out of him
loudly, and died away ; his hands sloped — they
began large, and ended small. He never smiled
— not from set purpose, but because he had


lost the art, and his eyes calculated continually
out of the monotony of a colourless face.

" ' Systems ' are all rot," he was saying,
"there are only two fellers in Monte Carlo
who make it pay, don't y' know, old Blore and
Nielsen ; an' they don't do it by figures, only
by bein' so 'nfernally patient."

Mrs. Travis, sitting upright in a cane chair
with her hands in her lap, listened with atten-
tive disapproval ; she had a " system," and did
not wish to be convinced of its inefficiency.

" But I watched Baron Zimmermann myself,
and I saw him win five hundred louis the day
before yesterday, he plays a ' system,' I know,"
she said.

" Lost it all yesterday, and more," said the
young man dispassionately. It was his metier
to know everything about everybody, for which
reason Mrs. Travis respected him.

" But perhaps he wasn't playing his ' system '
then," she said.

" Why not ? "

"Oh, I don't think he would be," a remark
which was a fair specimen of her methods of
discussion. She never believed what she did


not want to, and rarely anything that she did
not see with her own eyes.

'' Figures are against you, y've only got one
thing in your favour, don't y' know," said the
young man languidly ; " you c'n leave off
playin' when y' like, and the bank has to go
on." His voice ran into a whisper, and he
tilted his hat till it sloped down the back of
his neck.

Giles stood a little way from them, watching
Jocelyn eagerly. He caught her looking at
him two or three times with eyes that seemed
to be asking a question — eyes that were full
of trouble and uncertainty. He could not
understand the change in her ; recalling the
friendly serenity of the parting look she had
given him the day before, he wondered with a
secret dismay. He went up to her and said —

" Will you come and look at the pony ?
You said you wanted to see it."

" Yes," she answered indifferently, and walked
away with him to the stables, leaving the young
man caressing the slope of his moustache, and
calculating into vacancy. On the way to the
stables she hardly talked at all, only answering


in monosyllables when he spoke to her ; every
now and then she would look at him stealthily,
with that same expression of perplexity and fear.
As she stood talking to the pony, with her arms
round its neck, her cheek laid against its mane,
and her eyes soft under their long lashes, Giles
felt an uncontrollable rush of longing to be
near her, to touch her, and share in the tender-
ness of her voice and her face. He came close,
and laid his hand partly over hers upon the
pony's head. She drew it away quickly with
a look of positive fright, and the colour rushed
furiously into her face. He looked at her
silently, and he could not keep the pain and
hunger out of his eyes. She went on me-
chanically stroking the pony's neck. At last he
said, rather because his feelings fought for expres-
sion than that the words were those he wished
to speak, " What's the matter, Jocelyn ? Why
do you treat — ? " She stamped her foot upon
the straw of the stall, and without saying a
word, went out of the stable. He stood there,
biting his moustache, dumb with pain and dis-
may, and the pony thrust its wet nose against
the pocket of his coat. He recovered himself


a minute later, but she had gone to her room,
and though he waited a long time, he did not
see her again, and at last went away, half dis-
tracted with doubt and fear. . . .

After that, his will made no further remon-
strance. All that he thought of, day and
night, was to be near her. Conventional
morality ceased to be anything to him but a
dim, murky shadow, falling at times across the
path of his longing. He was face to face with
two very grim realities, gaunt and shadowless,
which hurt him, bit into his soul, absorbed his
consciousness — his great unslaked thirst, and
his dread of bringing her harm. He was
unable to see issues clearly outlined under the
pressure of the throbbing passion which pos-
sessed him. All that was highest in him was
roused, all the self-sacrifice of which he was
capable, all the desire to be of use, of pro-
tecting use, to some other human being ; and
by a grim irony it was aroused by that very
implanted impulse in his sensuous fibre to be
at one with that other, to be all in all to her, to
rend the veil which divided her from him, body
and soul. He thought of her reverently, as


something sacred and unstained, yet he would
have given ten years of his Hfe to put his Hps
to hers. His will, undermined by years of easy
drifting with the tide, made feeble attempts to
grapple with the end ; painfully achieved resolu-
tions, painfully abandoned them, finally con-
fessed dimly that he could neither give her up
nor do anything to bring her harm.

So possessed, he made daily pilgrimage from
the sunlit Italian villa into Mentone, and every
day a rising tide of passion left him a step higher
upon a thirsty beach of thankless indecision.

Shikari, the greyhound, who shared with him
the daily journeying, and who slept by his bed
at night, was the only living thing that gave him
some comfort during those days when his old
easy life slipped away from him. Jocelyn's
great love of animals invested the dog with an
added attraction. Something of herself, Legard
thought, seemed to stay with the caresses and
the sweet words she had lavished upon him.

There was, besides, a sense of comradeship
in the touch of the brute's muzzle against his
knee, which no human being could give, while
his mind was kicking, impotently and inces-


santly, against the pricks of humanly-ordained
circumstance. He managed to keep a certain
hand upon his actions ; he remained calmly
and wearily gentle to his wife, but often when
he looked at her, he would awake suddenly to
the consciousness that he was trying to measure
the ebbing vitality in her face and gestures, and
he would turn away hating himself. Every
morning he started from the villa, and walked
the five dusty miles westwards under the blazing
sun with a swinging, hardly restrained stride ;
every night he came slowly and listlessly back,
under cover of the dewy darkness, his face
drawn and his lips working. He used to walk
both ways, so that in weariness he might get
some freedom from thought at night. He did
not always see Jocelyn. Sometimes his courage
would fail him at the last moment, and he
would not even make the attempt, but would
hang about the town utterly wretched, and go
back at night cursing his cowardice. It was
a part of his misery too that he could not
understand her. Some days she would hardly
speak to him, would shrink if by accident he
touched her, and avoided being alone with


him ; at other times she would seem as friendly
and serene as in the old days ; but even then she
left the impression upon him, that she had been
forcing herself not to think and feel, simply to
live in the passing moment. She never touched
him if she could help it, and her eyes seldom
met his ; by virtue of her woman's quickness,
they fell soft and luminous under the veil of
their dark lashes before he could read the
meaning in them. And he knew that it was all
his own fault — for, do what he would, he could
not hide his feelings. At times he was cold to
her, almost sullen, at others quite silent ; some-
times he could not keep back the tenderness in
his voice, then again he would be suddenly con-
ventional and abrupt, and always — always — he
looked at her with hunger in his eyes. When
he saw her in the presence of other people he
suffered tortures of jealousy, he wanted her ever
to himself. That expression of shrinking, almost
of horror, in her face, haunted him ; sometimes
he would go away, cursing himself, calling him-
self a brute, and a beast, for bringing her a
moment's pain — he would even resolve to give
her up and never see her again ; but to no


end — he could not keep away. Once, when
she thought herself unobserved, he saw her look-
ing at him with an expression in her eyes that
he had never seen before — an expression in
which wonder, fear, pity, and something very
deep, were strangely blended ; his heart leaped
within him, but the next moment the look was
gone, and her face was mysterious and inscrutable
as a mask. He lived upon that look for days.

In his mind he perpetually reviewed all the
unconsidered trifles of their meetings, the words
spoken, and the words that seemed to hang un-
spoken on her lips, the thoughts that showed
in her face and the thoughts unimaged, uncon-
fessed — and neither her woman's instinctive dis-
simulation, nor the greatly unconscious, greatly
untested barrier of a girl's reserve, could hide
them altogether from his despairing eyes. He
searched as a thirsty man seeks water in a desert,
where to find it is life — to fail death. The know-
ledge that he was staking his all in that search,
and yet that, even if he found it, it must needs
be brackish, perhaps undrinkable, gave him a
keenness of vision denied to most lover's eyes.
As the days ran into weeks he grew tired and


worn-looking, and hollows began to come into
his sun-burnt face. He lived, knowing nothing
with certainty, nothing of what she felt, nothing
of what he'desired, nothing of the end. He lived
a prey to hunger and to doubt. . . .

One morning, as he was coming up to the
hotel, he encountered Mrs. Travis, setting forth
upon her daily visit to Monte Carlo. She told
him that Jocelyn had taken a book, and gone
for a walk by herself. He accompanied the good
lady to the station, and watched her train go
out, then he took the nearest way through the
outskirts of the town to a sloping ridge which he
knew to be Jocelyn's favourite walk. The sun
blazed fiercely, and in the town the heat brooded
breathlessly over the houses, over the streets, and
the dried watercourses. He passed a company
of soldiers, in blue jackets and white trousers,
straggling dustily along the road ; three or four
little girls on donkeys clattered by him laugh-
ingly, bumping up and down and chattering in-
cessantly, while the drivers followed, flourishing

In the narrow lane of the steep ascent wild
roses hung in clusters from the hedges ; and now


and then he passed unkempt cottages whence
came the smell of burning wood and the barking
of dogs. He came out at last upon a ridge,
running between two terraced, vine - grown
valleys. The uncertainty of his quest gave him
courage, and he walked rapidly without dwelling
upon the thought whether or not she would be
glad to see him ; but he had almost given up
hope, and was about to retrace his steps, when
he suddenly caught sight of her sitting on a bank
of thyme, a little way down the left hand slope.
Her elbows rested on her knees, and her chin
was sunk in her hands ; a book lay open by her
side. His heart gave a great leap, and beat
painfully ; he stood still, doubting what he should
do, but the sudden ceasing of footsteps had at-
tracted her attention, and she looked up. He
lifted his hat.

" May I come ? Or shall I go back ? " he said.

She looked at him startled, half rising from
the ground.

" Shall I go away ? " he repeated.

" It would be better," she said ; and then, as
if to recall the strange words, she held out her
hand and said —


" Oh, no ! Come, of course, if you like."

He went down the slope, dry and slippery
under his feet, and threw himself at full length
close to her. In the valley below the almond
trees were flushing in the sun ; on the hillsides
the olives glistened, here and there a tall cypress
stood like a sentinel over the scene, and pine
trees crowning the ridge behind seemed to climb
towards the blue of the sky. Cuckoos were call-
ing, bees droning, and the tinkle of cow-bells
floated up the valley. Little flowers pushed their
tiny heads up around, and in all the still air was
the scent of the thyme.

"This is the hour I love best," said Jocelyn,
" when the day is just sleeping ; resting after its
climb, before it begins to go down hill again.
Listen to the bees, what a lullaby ! "

She held up her finger, and sat with her head
bent a little to one side, and a smile on her lips.
Giles watching her, as always, saw the smile
fade, leaving her face weary and troubled. He
took up her book, and began turning over the
leaves, with the feeling that by the trivial action
he was warding off the pain which he felt was
coming. Suddenly, she said —


" What does the world want with people ?
They only spoil it ! It is so beautiful, except
for our horrible, horrible selves."

She put her hands out, as if she would push
away from her something weighty and oppres-
sive. The motion went straight to his heart ;
he sat up with an abrupt movement, and turn-
ing half away from her, clenched his hands ;
feelings of grief and rage tore at him.

Presently he felt a soft pull at his sleeve.
He looked at her. The little oval face, with its
large brown eyes, was so pathetic that all bitter-
ness left him, and he thought only of how to
bring the light back into it. He began to talk
about the book, about anything that came upper-
most in his mind, and gradually the old friendly
serenity came into her face. They sat there a
long time, talking and reading, while the shadows
of the pine trees lengthened, and in the slanting
sun the light mellowed on the hillside. At last
Jocelyn said —

" It's time for me to go back."

She was rising to her feet, when her foot
slipped, and she fell nearly to the ground. Giles
standing close caught her in his arms. He felt


her breath on his cheek, the soft pressure of
her yielding body against him — and his eyes
blazed with the sweet emotion that leaped up
in his heart. When she was on her feet again,
he held her for one second. Suddenly her
frame became rigid, she pushed him violently
away from her, and covering her face with her
hands, turned, and almost ran up the slope.
Giles stood where she had left him, motion-
less. . . .

Half an hour later he too went up the slope.
At the turning into the lane, Jocelyn rose from
the trunk of a fallen tree on which she had been
sitting, and came up to him without a word.
Her face was flushed, there were circles beneath
her eyes, and he knew that she had been crying.
With a catch in his breath, he took her hand
and stroked it gently. They went down the hill
together silently.


Giles paced up and down his verandah rest-
lessly ; he was awaiting Jocelyn's arrival. His
wife had sent an invitation to her and to Mrs.
Travis to come and see the villa, with the sug-
gestion that they should afterwards drive on to
Bordighera. Nielsen, who had also received an
invitation, was coming with them ; the prospect
of a whole day in Jocelyn's society having caused
him for once to abandon his professional visit
to the gambling-tables.

The little grey villa hanging over the Cornice
road smiled down a sheer descent at the sea,
which danced, far out, to the tune of the breeze
in lines of sapphire, and, shorewards, was ringed
smoothly with a dull, turquoise crescent of water,
broken only where the foam-scud, shining in
the brilliant sunshine, flew up over the green-
grey rocks. Below the wall, on the nether side

of the road, a clump of silver olives swayed

^s E


gracefully in the freshening breeze, and beyond,
a group of stone pines brooded, thoughtful and
apart, at the edge of the cliff. Hanging masses
of pink geranium, and wine-coloured bougain-
villea stained the greyness of the villa walls, and
rainbow roses clung in festoons round its closed,
green shutters.

Up the curved, white vista of dusty road toiled
the figure of an old man, sturdily bending under
his load of palm branches. A two-horsed cart
rattled noisily downwards towards the bridge
to the crack of the driver's lash and his shrill
" yuips." Just in front of the villa three small
brown urchins chattered busily in the dust,
heaving flat stones aimlessly along the road ;
and the soft, metallic note of women's talk,
with a wailing rise at the end of each sentence,
floated up from a gaily-skirted group washing
linen in the tank below. To the left, where
the road wound past a buttress of old grey
masonry, palms clustered skyward in dusty pro-
fusion ; to the right, through a slanting, mauve
network of wisteria and sleepy heliotrope, one
caught a glimpse of the lichen-dotted wall of
a Saracen tower, rising solid and picturesque,


pierced in the centre by a white-washed stone
archway. The sea gave a bhie-green setting to
the spreading fohage, to the gnarled trunks of
the balancing olives and the stems of the pines ;
the edging foam, glinting white as it shot up over
the rocks, seemed to throw a playful challenge
to the friends that had hung so long above in
airy seclusion.

In a corner of the garden, where a pepper
tree threw feathery shadows from its hanging,
frond-like leaves, and dull pink berries, on to
the grass. Shikari lay, his head between his
paws, watching his master's restless figure out
of one half-closed eye.

Presently the sound of wheels was heard
coming up the road. Giles stopped his uneasy
tramp on the broad verandah, and, followed
by the dog, went and stood at the top of the
crescent of trellis-roofed steps, that led curving
up to the door from the outside porch. The
carriage stopped. Jocelyn was the first to
alight. She stood, for a minute, before she
mounted, looking up at him through the roses
which trailed mysteriously over her head out
of shadowy masses of hanging foliage — falling


through the openings of the twisted trellis-work,
they seemed to be whispering and beckoning to
her, as she stood under the green archway.

Shikari walked gravely down the steps, and
raising himself, placed a paw on each of her

Irma was waiting for them in a cool room on
the ground floor. She looked very ill, but she
greeted her visitors with graceful cordiality.
Giles noticed that she looked at Jocelyn with
a strangely wistful expression. Nielsen, who
had followed them into the room, suddenly
produced from his pocket a beautiful little
china bowl, which he presented to his hostess

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