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Part II Edith Wharton

Chapter XVI

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She turned her head slightly, and their eyes met. For an instant blank terror loomed upon him; but before he had time to face it she continued, in the same untroubled voice: "Mr. Buttles's place, I mean. My parents must absolutely have some one they can count on. You know what an easy place it is .... I think you would find the salary satisfactory."

Nick drew a deep breath of relief. For a moment her eyes had looked as they had in the Scalzi--and he liked the girl too much not to shrink from reawakening that look. But Mr. Buttles's place: why not?

"Poor Buttles!" he murmured, to gain time.

"Oh," she said, "you won't find the same reasons as he did for throwing up the job. He was the martyr of his artistic convictions."

He glanced at her sideways, wondering. After all she did not know of his meeting with Mr. Buttles in Genoa, nor of the latter's confidences; perhaps she did not even know of Mr. Buttles's hopeless passion. At any rate her face remained calm.

"Why not consider it--at least just for a few months? Till after our expedition to Mesopotamia?" she pressed on, a little breathlessly.

"You're awfully kind: but I don't know--"

She stood up with one of her abrupt movements. "You needn't, all at once. Take time think it over. Father wanted me to ask you," she appended.

He felt the inadequacy of his response. "It tempts me awfully, of course. But I must wait, at any rate--wait for letters. The fact is I shall have to wire from Rhodes to have them sent. I had chucked everything, even letters, for a few weeks."

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"Ah, you are tired," she murmured, giving him a last downward glance as she turned away.

>From Rhodes Nick Lansing telegraphed to his Paris bank to send his letters to Candia; but when the Ibis reached Candia, and the mail was brought on board, the thick envelope handed to him contained no letter from Susy.

Why should it, since he had not yet written to her?

He had not written, no: but in sending his address to the bank he knew he had given her the opportunity of reaching him if she wished to. And she had made no sign.

Late that afternoon, when they returned to the yacht from their first expedition, a packet of newspapers lay on the deck-house table. Nick picked up one of the London journals, and his eye ran absently down the list of social events.

He read:

"Among the visitors expected next week at Ruan Castle (let for the season to Mr. Frederick J. Gillow of New York) are Prince Altineri of Rome, the Earl of Altringham and Mrs. Nicholas Lansing, who arrived in London last week from Paris. "Nick threw down the paper. It was just a month since he had left the Palazzo Vanderlyn and flung himself into the night express for Milan. A whole month--and Susy had not written. Only a month-- and Susy and Strefford were already together!

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The Glimpses of the Moon
Edith Wharton

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