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Nancy eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 371 pages of information about Nancy.

Thus adjured, they have come to a halt, and the presentation is made.

“Surely,” think I, glancing at Barbara’s face, slightly flushed by the heat, and still gently grave with the sobriety of expression left by devotion, “he must see the likeness now!” To insure his having the chance of telling her that he does, I fall behind with Algy.

CHAPTER XXIII.

Claret cup has washed the dust from our throats; cold lamb and mayonnaise have restored the force of body and equanimity of mind which the exhausted air and long-drawn Gregorian chants of Tempest Church destroyed.  Frank is lunching with us.  He had accompanied us to our own gates, and had then made a feint of leaving, but I had pressed him, with an eagerness proportioned to the seriousness of my design upon him, to accompany us, and he had yielded with a willing ease.

I cannot help thinking that Algy does not look altogether pleased with the arrangement, but after all, it is my house, and not Algy’s.  It is the first time that I have entertained a guest since the far-off childish birthdays, when the neighbors’ little boys and girls used to be gathered together to drink tea out of the doll’s tea service.  In the afternoon, we all walk to church again, and in the same order.  Barbara and Algy in front, Frank and I behind.  I had planned differently, but Algy is obtuse, Barbara will come into the manoeuvres, and Frank seems simply indifferent.  So it happens, that all through the park, and up the bit of dusty white road we are out of ear-shot of the other two.

“A sky worthy of Dresden!” says Mr. Musgrave, throwing back his head and looking up at the pale blue sultriness above our heads—­the waveless, stormless ether sea—­as we pace along, with the church-bells’ measured ding-dong in our ears, and the cool ripe grasses about our feet.

Dear Dresden!” say I, pensively, with a sigh of mixed regret and remorse, as I look back on the sunshiny hours that at the time I thought so long, in that fair, white foreign town.

“Dear Linkesches Bad!” says Frank, sighing too.

“Dear Groosegarten!” cry I, thinking of the long pottering stroll that Roger and I had taken one evening up and down its green alleys, and that then I had found so tedious.

“Dear Zwinger!” retorts Frank.

“Dear Weisserhirsch!” say I, half sadly.  “Dear white acacias! dear drives under the acacias!”

Drives under the acacias!” echoes Frank, dropping his accent of sentimentalism, and speaking rather sharply.  “We never had any drives under the acacias!  We never had any drives at all, that I recollect!”

You had not, I dare say,” reply I, carelessly, “but we had.  They are the things that I look back at with the greatest pleasure of any thing that happened there!”

Frank does not apostrophize as “dear” any other public resort; indeed, he turns away his head, and we walk on without uttering a word for a few moments.

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