2021-04-14 11:57:55

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ENGLISH He was sorry she was going, but made no attempt to detain her, and presently she was walking back along the still sunny road with her brother.Well, all I can say is, that I hope your Miss Pemberton isnt one of those lively young ladies who are always laughing and joking, or youll be fit to kill her with your serious airs. I should never have guessed that you were going to be a bridegroom in a few weeks time.Well, Mr Keeling, he said. I mean to keep you up a long time in my library to-night, so shall we go into the drawing-room at once, till the ladies go up to bed? Dear me, that awful chimney! It would be very good of you if you would let me have the cowl you told me of.

You answered her very properly, I thought, remarked Hugh.No, I must turn too, he said. Maynt I walk with you?

She looked at him a moment with eyes behind which there smouldered a real though a veiled hostility, and he found himself wishing that she would put it into words, and repeat definitely and seriously the accusation at which her dismal little jest about the work of the catalogue keeping him here in Bracebridge, had hinted. Then he could have denied it more explicitly, and with a violence that might have impressed her. But his roughness, his fierce challenging of her stupid chaff had effectively frightened her off any such repetition, and she gave him no opportunity of denial or defence. Only, as she left him, with the intention of seeing Alice before lunch, he noted this intensified situation. It had become more explosive, more dangerous, and now instead of taking it boldly out into the open, and encouraging{184} it to explode, with, probably, no very destructive results, he had caused his wife to lock it up in the confined space of her own mind, hiding it away from his anger or his ridicule. But it was doubtful whether she had detached the smouldering fuse of her own suspicions. They were at present of no very swiftly inflammable stuff: there was but a vague sense that her husband was more interested in Norah than he should be, and had he answered her chaff with something equally light, she might easily have put out that smouldering fuse. But he had not done that: he had flared and scolded, and his attempt to respond in the same spirit was hopelessly belated. She began to wonder whether Mrs Fyson was not right.... True, Mrs Fyson had said very little, but that little appeared now to be singularly suggestive.She was deep in her work now when her brother joined her. Charles was suffering from a cold of paralysing severity, and she looked up with a certain anxiety as a fit of coughing took him, for he was liable to bad bronchitis.It was clear to each of them that the same{137} situation, that of Norah having been seen entering the house alone after dinner, and going to his private room, was in the mind of each of them. Norah, for her part, had a secret blush for the fact that she considered the incident at all, but her reply had revealed that she did, for she remembered that her brother had alluded to the question of her coming up here alone. But Keeling saw no absurdity in, so to speak, regularizing the situation, and his solution commended itself to him more than hers.

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Keeling forced his mind away from the sound that came from next door, and looked at the map that the agent had spread out. But the purchase did not appeal to him.He fixed his fine eyes on the fire, and became so like the figure of Jonah in the stained-glass window that Alice almost felt herself in Nineveh.

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Alice could not keep up this pretty jesting tone any longer: it was much too serious and wonderful a thing to jest about that she should really be his Helper.The humorousness, as it would have struck a bystander, of this amazing anticlimax escaped Alice. She knew it was an anticlimax, for she was not giving two thoughts to his principles, but was only involved in his practices. Anger suddenly flamed in her, giving her an odd grotesque dignity.

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Apr-14 11:57:55