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him,” said the singer. “A skinny girl, about ten. Or

source:Obsessed with the networkedit:readingtime:2023-12-02 06:48:44

Gordon took his arm and they gained the street; they strolled in the direction of the Champs Elysees.

him,” said the singer. “A skinny girl, about ten. Or

"For a little exercise and a good deal of talk, it 's the pleasantest place," said Gordon. "I have a good deal to say; I have a good deal to ask you."

him,” said the singer. “A skinny girl, about ten. Or

Bernard felt the familiar pressure of his friend's hand, as it rested on his arm, and it seemed to him never to have lain there with so heavy a weight. It held him fast--it held him to account; it seemed a physical symbol of responsibility. Bernard was not re-assured by hearing that Gordon had a great deal to say, and he expected a sudden explosion of bitterness on the subject of Blanche's irremediable triviality. The afternoon was a lovely one-- the day was a perfect example of the mellowest mood of autumn. The air was warm and filled with a golden haze, which seemed to hang about the bare Parisian trees, as if with a tender impulse to drape their nakedness. A fine day in Paris brings out a wonderfully bright and appreciative multitude of strollers and loungers, and the liberal spaces of the Champs Elysees were on this occasion filled with those placid votaries of inexpensive entertainment who abound in the French capital. The benches and chairs on the edge of the great avenue exhibited a dense fraternity of gazers, and up and down the broad walk passed the slow-moving and easily pleased pedestrians. Gordon, in spite of his announcement that he had a good deal to say, confined himself at first to superficial allusions, and Bernard after a while had the satisfaction of perceiving that he was not likely, for the moment, to strike the note of conjugal discord. He appeared, indeed, to feel no desire to speak of Blanche in any manner whatever. He fell into the humor of the hour and the scene, looked at the crowd, talked about trifles. He remarked that Paris was a wonderful place after all, and that a little glimpse of the Parisian picture was a capital thing as a change; said he was very glad they had come, and that for his part he was willing to stay three months.

him,” said the singer. “A skinny girl, about ten. Or

"And what have you been doing with yourself?" he asked. "How have you been occupied, and what are you meaning to do?"

Bernard said nothing for a moment, and Gordon presently glanced at his face to see why he was silent. Bernard, looking askance, met his companion's eyes, and then, resting his own upon them, he stopped short. His heart was beating; it was a question of saying to Gordon outright, "I have been occupied in becoming engaged to Angela Vivian." But he could n't say it, and yet he must say something. He tried to invent something; but he could think of nothing, and still Gordon was looking at him.

"I am so glad to see you!" he exclaimed, for want of something better; and he blushed--he felt foolish, he felt false--as he said it.

"My dear Bernard!" Gordon murmured gratefully, as they walked on. "It 's very good of you to say that; I am very glad we are together again. I want to say something," he added, in a moment; "I hope you won't mind it--" Bernard gave a little laugh at his companion's scruples, and Gordon continued. "To tell the truth, it has sometimes seemed to me that we were not so good friends as we used to be-- that something had come between us--I don't know what, I don't know why. I don't know what to call it but a sort of lowering of the temperature. I don't know whether you have felt it, or whether it has been simply a fancy of mine. Whatever it may have been, it 's all over, is n't it? We are too old friends--too good friends--not to stick together. Of course, the rubs of life may occasionally loosen the cohesion; but it is very good to feel that, with a little direct contact, it may easily be re-established. Is n't that so? But we should n't reason about these things; one feels them, and that 's enough."

Gordon spoke in his clear, cheerful voice, and Bernard listened intently. It seemed to him there was an undertone of pain and effort in his companion's speech; it was that of an unhappy man trying to be wise and make the best of things.

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