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Part I Edith Wharton

Chapter II

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"We should really, in a way, help more than we should hamper each other," she ardently explained. "We both know the ropes so well; what one of us didn't see the other might--in the way of opportunities, I mean. And then we should be a novelty as married people. We're both rather unusually popular--why not be frank!--and it's such a blessing for dinner-givers to be able to count on a couple of whom neither one is a blank. Yes, I really believe we should be more than twice the success we are now; at least," she added with a smile, "if there's that amount of room for improvement. I don't know how you feel; a man's popularity is so much less precarious than a girl's--but I know it would furbish me up tremendously to reappear as a married woman." She glanced away from him down the long valley at their feet, and added in a lower tone: "And I should like, just for a little while, to feel I had something in life of my very own--something that nobody had lent me, like a fancy-dress or a motor or an opera cloak."

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The suggestion, at first, had seemed to Lansing as mad as it was enchanting: it had thoroughly frightened him. But Susy's arguments were irrefutable, her ingenuities inexhaustible. Had he ever thought it all out? She asked. No. Well, she had; and would he kindly not interrupt? In the first place, there would be all the wedding-presents. Jewels, and a motor, and a silver dinner service, did she mean? Not a bit of it! She could see he'd never given the question proper thought. Cheques, my dear, nothing but cheques--she undertook to manage that on her side: she really thought she could count on about fifty, and she supposed he could rake up a few more? Well, all that would simply represent pocket-money! For they would have plenty of houses to live in: he'd see. People were always glad to lend their house to a newly-married couple. It was such fun to pop down and see them: it made one feel romantic and jolly. All they need do was to accept the houses in turn: go on honeymooning for a year! What was he afraid of? Didn't he think they'd be happy enough to want to keep it up? And why not at least try--get engaged, and then see what would happen? Even if she was all wrong, and her plan failed, wouldn't it have been rather nice, just for a month or two, to fancy they were going to be happy? "I've often fancied it all by myself," she concluded; "but fancying it with you would somehow be so awfully different ...."

That was how it began: and this lakeside dream was what it had led up to. Fantastically improbable as they had seemed, all her previsions had come true. If there were certain links in the chain that Lansing had never been able to put his hand on, certain arrangements and contrivances that still needed further elucidation, why, he was lazily resolved to clear them up with her some day; and meanwhile it was worth all the past might have cost, and every penalty the future might exact of him, just to be sitting here in the silence and sweetness, her sleeping head on his knee, clasped in his joy as the hushed world was clasped in moonlight.

He stooped down and kissed her. "Wake up," he whispered, "it's bed-time."

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The Glimpses of the Moon
Edith Wharton

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