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|The Secret Adversary||Agatha Christie|
XV Tuppence Receives a Proposal
|Page 3 of 5||
Julius spoke in a discouraged voice. The mood was so alien to him that Tuppence turned and stared at him in surprise. He nodded.
"That's so. I'm getting down and out over the business. Sir James to-day hadn't got any hope at all, I could see that. I don't like him--we don't gee together somehow--but he's pretty cute, and I guess he wouldn't quit if there was any chance of success--now, would he?"
Tuppence felt rather uncomfortable, but clinging to her belief that Julius also had withheld something from her, she remained firm.
"He suggested advertising for the nurse," she reminded him.
"Yes, with a 'forlorn hope' flavour to his voice! No--I'm about fed up. I've half a mind to go back to the States right away."
"Oh no!" cried Tuppence. "We've got to find Tommy."
"I sure forgot Beresford," said Julius contritely. "That's so. We must find him. But after--well, I've been day-dreaming ever since I started on this trip--and these dreams are rotten poor business. I'm quit of them. Say, Miss Tuppence, there's something I'd like to ask you."
"You and Beresford. What about it?"
"I don't understand you," replied Tuppence with dignity, adding rather inconsequently: "And, anyway, you're wrong!"
"Not got a sort of kindly feeling for one another?"
"Certainly not," said Tuppence with warmth. "Tommy and I are friends--nothing more."
"I guess every pair of lovers has said that sometime or another," observed Julius.
"Nonsense!" snapped Tuppence. "Do I look the sort of girl that's always falling in love with every man she meets?"
"You do not. You look the sort of girl that's mighty often getting fallen in love with!"
"Oh!" said Tuppence, rather taken aback. "That's a compliment, I suppose?"
"Sure. Now let's get down to this. Supposing we never find Beresford and--and----"
"All right--say it! I can face facts. Supposing he's--dead! Well?"
"And all this business fiddles out. What are you going to do?"
"I don't know," said Tuppence forlornly.
"You'll be darned lonesome, you poor kid."
"I shall be all right," snapped Tuppence with her usual resentment of any kind of pity.
"What about marriage?" inquired Julius. "Got any views on the subject?"
"I intend to marry, of course," replied Tuppence. "That is, if"--she paused, knew a momentary longing to draw back, and then stuck to her guns bravely--"I can find some one rich enough to make it worth my while. That's frank, isn't it? I dare say you despise me for it."
"I never despise business instinct," said Julius. "What particular figure have you in mind?"
"Figure?" asked Tuppence, puzzled. "Do you mean tall or short?"
"Oh, I--I haven't quite worked that out."
"What about me?"
"Oh, I couldn't!"
"I tell you I couldn't."
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