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0100_005E Part II Edith Wharton

Chapter XXII

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Table Of Contents: The Glimpses of the Moon

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"A little house in London--?" She wondered.

"Well, I suppose you've got to have some sort of a roof over your head."

"I suppose so."

He sat down beside her. "If you like me well enough to live at Altringham some day, won't you, in the meantime, let me provide you with a smaller and more convenient establishment?"

Still she hesitated. The alternative, she knew, would be to live on Ursula Gillow, Violet Melrose, or some other of her rich friends, any one of whom would be ready to lavish the largest hospitality on the prospective Lady Altringham. Such an arrangement, in the long run, would be no less humiliating to her pride, no less destructive to her independence, than Altringham's little establishment. But she temporized. "I shall go over to London in December, and stay for a while with various people--then we can look about."

"All right; as you like." He obviously considered her hesitation ridiculous, but was too full of satisfaction at her having started divorce proceedings to be chilled by her reply.

"And now, look here, my dear; couldn't I give you some sort of a ring?"

"A ring?" She flushed at the suggestion. "What's the use, Streff, dear? With all those jewels locked away in London--"

"Oh, I daresay you'll think them old-fashioned. And, hang it, why shouldn't I give you something new, I ran across Ellie and Bockheimer yesterday, in the rue de la Paix, picking out sapphires. Do you like sapphires, or emeralds? Or just a diamond? I've seen a thumping one .... I'd like you to have it."

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Ellie and Bockheimer! How she hated the conjunction of the names! Their case always seemed to her like a caricature of her own, and she felt an unreasoning resentment against Ellie for having selected the same season for her unmating and re-mating.

"I wish you wouldn't speak of them, Streff ... as if they were like us! I can hardly bear to sit in the same room with Ellie Vanderlyn."

"Hullo? What's wrong? You mean because of her giving up Clarissa?"

"Not that only .... You don't know .... I can't tell you ...." She shivered at the memory, and rose restlessly from the bench where they had been sitting.

Strefford gave his careless shrug. "Well, my dear, you can hardly expect me to agree, for after all it was to Ellie I owed the luck of being so long alone with you in Venice. If she and Algie hadn't prolonged their honeymoon at the villa--"

He stopped abruptly, and looked at Susy. She was conscious that every drop of blood had left her face. She felt it ebbing away from her heart, flowing out of her as if from all her severed arteries, till it seemed as though nothing were left of life in her but one point of irreducible pain.

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The Glimpses of the Moon
Edith Wharton

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