Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
Part II Edith Wharton

Chapter XIX

Page 5 of 6

Table Of Contents: The Glimpses of the Moon

Previous Page

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

More by this Author

But Susy divined that there was another reason for Strefford's suggestion. She had never yet shown herself with him publicly, among their own group of people: now he had determined that she should do so, and she knew why. She had humbled his pride; he had understood, and forgiven her. But she still continued to treat him as she had always treated the Strefford of old, Charlie Strefford, dear old negligible impecunious Streff; and he wanted to show her, ever so casually and adroitly, that the man who had asked her to marry him was no longer Strefford, but Lord Altringham.

At the very threshold, his Ambassador's greeting marked the difference: it was followed, wherever they turned, by ejaculations of welcome from the rulers of the world they moved in. Everybody rich enough or titled enough, or clever enough or stupid enough, to have forced a way into the social citadel, was there, waving and flag-flying from the battlements; and to all of them Lord Altringham had become a marked figure. During their slow progress through the dense mass of important people who made the approach to the pictures so well worth fighting for, he never left Susy's side, or failed to make her feel herself a part of his triumphal advance. She heard her name mentioned: "Lansing--a Mrs. Lansing--an American ... Susy Lansing? Yes, of course .... You remember her? At Newport, At St. Moritz? Exactly.... Divorced already? They say so ... Susy darling! I'd no idea you were here ... and Lord Altringham! You've forgotten me, I know, Lord Altringham .... Yes, last year, in Cairo ... or at Newport ... or in Scotland ... Susy, dearest, when will you bring Lord Altringham to dine? Any night that you and he are free I'll arrange to be ...."

"You and he": they were "you and he" already!

Tired of reading? Add this page to your Bookmarks or Favorites and finish it later.

"Ah, there's one of them--of my great-grandmothers," Strefford explained, giving a last push that drew him and Susy to the front rank, before a tall isolated portrait which, by sheer majesty of presentment, sat in its great carved golden frame as on a throne above the other pictures.

Susy read on the scroll beneath it: "The Hon'ble Diana Lefanu, fifteenth Countess of Altringham"--and heard Strefford say: "Do you remember? It hangs where you noticed the empty space above the mantel-piece, in the Vandyke room. They say Reynolds stipulated that it should be put with the Vandykes."

She had never before heard him speak of his possessions, whether ancestral or merely material, in just that full and satisfied tone of voice: the rich man's voice. She saw that he was already feeling the influence of his surroundings, that he was glad the portrait of a Countess of Altringham should occupy the central place in the principal room of the exhibition, that the crowd about it should be denser there than before any of the other pictures, and that he should be standing there with Susy, letting her feel, and letting all the people about them guess, that the day she chose she could wear the same name as his pictured ancestress.

On the way back to her hotel, Strefford made no farther allusion to their future; they chatted like old comrades in their respective corners of the taxi. But as the carriage stopped at her door he said: "I must go back to England the day after tomorrow, worse luck! Why not dine with me to-night at the Nouveau Luxe? I've got to have the Ambassador and Lady Ascot, with their youngest girl and my old Dunes aunt, the Dowager Duchess, who's over here hiding from her creditors; but I'll try to get two or three amusing men to leaven the lump. We might go on to a boite afterward, if you're bored. Unless the dancing amuses you more ...."

Page 5 of 6 Previous Page   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
The Glimpses of the Moon
Edith Wharton

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004