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Part I Edith Wharton

Chapter XII

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Table Of Contents: The Glimpses of the Moon

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"Susy, dear [he wrote], the fates seem to have taken our future in hand, and spared us the trouble of unravelling it. If I have sometimes been selfish enough to forget the conditions on which you agreed to marry me, they have come back to me during these two days of solitude. You've given me the best a man can have, and nothing else will ever be worth much to me. But since I haven't the ability to provide you with what you want, I recognize that I've no right to stand in your way. We must owe no more Venetian palaces to underhand services. I see by the newspapers that Streff can now give you as many palaces as you want. Let him have the chance--I fancy he'll jump at it, and he's the best man in sight. I wish I were in his shoes.

"I'll write again in a day or two, when I've collected my wits, and can give you an address. NICK."

He added a line on the subject of their modest funds, put the letter into an envelope, and addressed it to Mrs. Nicholas Lansing. As he did so, he reflected that it was the first time he had ever written his wife's married name.

"Well--by God, no other woman shall have it after her," he vowed, as he groped in his pocketbook for a stamp.

He stood up with a stretch of weariness--the heat was stifling! --and put the letter in his pocket.

"I'll post it myself, it's safer," he thought; "and then what in the name of goodness shall I do next, I wonder?" He jammed his hat down on his head and walked out into the sun-blaze.

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As he was turning away from the square by the general Post Office, a white parasol waved from a passing cab, and Coral Hicks leaned forward with outstretched hand. "I knew I'd find you," she triumphed. "I've been driving up and down in this broiling sun for hours, shopping and watching for you at the same time."

He stared at her blankly, too bewildered even to wonder how she knew he was in Genoa; and she continued, with the kind of shy imperiousness that always made him feel, in her presence, like a member of an orchestra under a masterful baton; "Now please get right into this carriage, and don't keep me roasting here another minute." To the cabdriver she called out: Al porto."

Nick Lansing sank down beside her. As he did so he noticed a heap of bundles at her feet, and felt that he had simply added one more to the number. He supposed that she was taking her spoils to the Ibis, and that he would be carried up to the deck-house to be displayed with the others. Well, it would all help to pass the day--and by night he would have reached some kind of a decision about his future.

On the third day after Nick's departure the post brought to the Palazzo Vanderlyn three letters for Mrs. Lansing.

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The Glimpses of the Moon
Edith Wharton

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