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Part III Edith Wharton

Chapter XXX

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IT took two brimming taxi-cabs to carry the Nicholas Lansings to the station on their second honey-moon. In the first were Nick, Susy and the luggage of the whole party (little Nat's motor horn included, as a last concession, and because he had hitherto forborne to play on it); and in the second, the five Fulmers, the bonne, who at the eleventh hour had refused to be left, a cage-full of canaries, and a foundling kitten who had murderous designs on them; all of which had to be taken because, if the bonne came, there would be nobody left to look after them.

At the corner Susy tore herself from Nick's arms and held up the procession while she ran back to the second taxi to make sure that the bonne had brought the house-key. It was found of course that she hadn't but that Junie had; whereupon the caravan got under way again, and reached the station just as the train was starting; and there, by some miracle of good nature on the part of the guard, they were all packed together into an empty compartment--no doubt, as Susy remarked, because train officials never failed to spot a newly-married couple, and treat them kindly.

The children, sentinelled by Junie, at first gave promise of superhuman goodness; but presently their feelings overflowed, and they were not to be quieted till it had been agreed that Nat should blow his motor-horn at each halt, while the twins called out the names of the stations, and Geordie, with the canaries and kitten, affected to change trains.

Luckily the halts were few; but the excitement of travel, combined with over-indulgence in the chocolates imprudently provided by Nick, overwhelmed Geordie with a sudden melancholy that could be appeased only by Susy's telling him stories till they arrived at Fontainebleau.

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The day was soft, with mild gleams of sunlight on decaying foliage; and after luggage and livestock had been dropped at the pension Susy confessed that she had promised the children a scamper in the forest, and buns in a tea-shop afterward. Nick placidly agreed, and darkness had long fallen, and a great many buns been consumed, when at length the procession turned down the street toward the pension, headed by Nick with the sleeping Geordie on his shoulder, while the others, speechless with fatigue and food, hung heavily on Susy.

It had been decided that, as the bonne was of the party, the children might be entrusted to her for the night, and Nick and Susy establish themselves in an adjacent hotel. Nick had flattered himself that they might remove their possessions there when they returned from the tea-room; but Susy, manifestly surprised at the idea, reminded him that her charges must first be given their supper and put to bed. She suggested that he should meanwhile take the bags to the hotel, and promised to join him as soon as Geordie was asleep.

She was a long time coming, but waiting for her was sweet, even in a deserted hotel reading-room insufficiently heated by a sulky stove; and after he had glanced through his morning's mail, hurriedly thrust into his pocket as he left Paris, he sank into a state of drowsy beatitude. It was all the maddest business in the world, yet it did not give him the sense of unreality that had made their first adventure a mere golden dream; and he sat and waited with the security of one in whom dear habits have struck deep roots. In this mood of acquiescence even the presence of the five Fulmers seemed a natural and necessary consequence of all the rest; and when Susy at length appeared, a little pale and tired, with the brooding inward look that busy mothers bring from the nursery, that too seemed natural and necessary, and part of the new order of things.

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The Glimpses of the Moon
Edith Wharton

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