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Part III Edith Wharton

Chapter XXIX

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Her husband's arms fell away from her, and he stood dumfounded.

"Take them with us?"

"Why not?"

"All five of them?"

"Of course--I couldn't possibly separate them. And Junie and Nat will help us to look after the young ones."

"Help us!" he groaned.

"Oh, you'll see; they won't bother you. Just leave it to me; I'll manage--" The word stopped her short, and an agony of crimson suffused her from brow to throat. Their eyes met; and without a word he stooped and laid his lips gently on the stain of red on her neck.

"Nick," she breathed, her hands in his.

"But those children--"

Instead of answering, she questioned: "Where are we going?"

His face lit up.

"Anywhere, dearest, that you choose."

"Well--I choose Fontainebleau!" she exulted.

"So do I! But we can't take all those children to an hotel at Fontainebleau, can we?" he questioned weakly. "You see, dear, there's the mere expense of it--"

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Her eyes were already travelling far ahead of him. "The expense won't amount to much. I've just remembered that Angele, the bonne, has a sister who is cook there in a nice old-fashioned pension which must be almost empty at this time of year. I'm sure I can ma--arrange easily," she hurried on, nearly tripping again over the fatal word. "And just think of the treat it will be to them! This is Friday, and I can get them let off from their afternoon classes, and keep them in the country till Monday. Poor darlings, they haven't been out of Paris for months! And I daresay the change will cure Geordie's cough-- Geordie's the youngest," she explained, surprised to find herself, even in the rapture of reunion, so absorbed in the welfare of the Fulmers.

She was conscious that her husband was surprised also; but instead of prolonging the argument he simply questioned: "Was Geordie the chap you had in your arms when you opened the front door the night before last?"

She echoed: "I opened the front door the night before last?"

"To a boy with a parcel."

"Oh," she sobbed, "you were there? You were watching?"

He held her to him, and the currents flowed between them warm and full as on the night of their moon over Como.

In a trice, after that, she had the matter in hand and her forces marshalled. The taxi was paid, Nick's luggage deposited in the vestibule, and the children, just piling down to breakfast, were summoned in to hear the news.

It was apparent that, seasoned to surprises as they were, Nick's presence took them aback. But when, between laughter and embraces, his identity, and his right to be where he was, had been made clear to them, Junie dismissed the matter by asking him in her practical way: "Then I suppose we may talk about you to Susy now?"--and thereafter all five addressed themselves to the vision of their imminent holiday.

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The Glimpses of the Moon
Edith Wharton

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