“You!” he murmured, as he took her arm and led her to the door. “You could feel all the sweetest and most wonderful things in heaven. The writer’s knack is only a slight gift. I put on paper what lives in your heart.”
She raised her head, and he kissed her lips. For a moment he held her quite quietly. Her arms encircled him. The perfume of her clothes, her hair, her warm, gentle touch, seemed like a strong sedative. If she said that he was safe, he must be. It was queer how so often at these times their sexes seemed reversed; it was he who felt that womanly desire for shelter and protection which she so amply afforded him. She patted his cheek.
“Now for our little walk,” she said. “Open the windows and let out all these bad fancies of yours. And listen,” she went on, as they stepped out of the lift a moment or two later, and passed through the hall towards the pavement, “not a word about our own problem. We are going to talk nonsense. We are going to be just two light-hearted children in this wonderful city, gazing at the sights and taking all she has to offer us. I love it, you know. I love the noise of it. It isn’t a distant, stifled roar like London. There’s a harsh, clarion-like note about it, like metal striking upon metal. And the smell of New York—there isn’t any other city like it! When we get into Fifth Avenue I am going to direct your attention to the subject of hats. Have you ever bought a woman’s hat, Philip?”
“Never,” he answered, truthfully enough.
“Then you are going to this morning, or rather you are going to help me to choose one,” she declared, “and in a very few moments, too. There is a little place almost underground in Fifth Avenue there, and a Frenchwoman—oh, she is so French!—and all her assistants have black hair and wear untidy, shapeless clothes and velvet slippers. It isn’t New York at all, but I love it, and I let them put their name on the programme. They really don’t charge me more than twice as much as they ought to for my hats. We go down here,” she added, descending some steps, “and if you make eyes at any of the young women I shall bring you straight out again.”
They spent half an hour choosing a hat and nearly two hours over lunch. It was late in the afternoon before she dropped him at his rooms. Not a word had they spoken of Sylvanus Power or their future, but Philip was a different man. Only, as he turned and said good-by, his voice trembled.
“I can’t say thank you,” he muttered, “but you know!"...
The lift was too slow for him. He opened his door with almost breathless haste. He only paused to light a cigarette and change his coat and wheel his table round so as to catch the afternoon light more perfectly. Then, with his brain teeming with fancies, he plunged into his work.