The Purple Heights eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 284 pages of information about The Purple Heights.

“Yes?” said she, absently.  The leggy girl had just thrust out her tongue at an expostulating nurse.  She seemed to be a highly unpleasant child; one of those children of whom aunts speak as “poor Mary” or whatever their name may be.  Anne Champneys, watching her, put her hand up and touched her own hair, that gleamed under her close-fitting black hat.  Her eyes darkened; she smiled, secretly, mysteriously, rememberingly.

In that instant Berkeley Hayden made his decision.  There was no longer any doubt in his mind.  When she turned away from the railing, he said pleasantly: 

“You and Marcia have put me in the humor to see Florence again.  If I come strolling in upon you some fine day, I hope you’ll be glad to see me, Mrs. Champneys?”

“Oh, yes!” said she, politely.  And then Marcia and Vandervelde came up, and a few minutes later the two men went ashore.  Hayden’s face was the last thing Nancy saw as the steamer moved slowly outward.  There were hails, laughter, waving of hand-kerchiefs.  He alone looked at her.  And so he remained in her memory, standing a little apart from all others.

CHAPTER XV

“I, TOO, IN ARCADIA”

If Riverton was his mother’s house and England his grandmother’s, France was peculiarly his own.  Peter Champneys felt that he had come home, and even the fact that he couldn’t speak understandable French didn’t spoil the illusion.  Nobody laughed at his barbarous jargon; people were patient, polite, helpful.  He thought the French the pleasantest people in the world, and this opinion he never changed.  Later, when he learned to know them better, he concluded that they were very deliberately and very gallantly gay in order to conceal from themselves and from the world how mortally sad they were at heart.  They eschewed those virtues which made one disagreeable, and they indulged only in such vices as really amused them, and in consequence they made being alive a fine art.

The Hemingways knew Paris as they knew London, and they smoothed his path.  In their drawing-room Peter met that dazzling inner circle of Parisian society which includes talent and genius as well as rank, beauty, and wealth.  Then, Mrs. Hemingway having first seen to it that he met those whom she wished him to meet, Peter was permitted to meet those whom he himself wished to meet.  He was introduced to two deceptively mild-mannered young Englishmen, first cousins named Checkleigh, students in one of the great ateliers, who were by way of being painters; and to a shock-headed young man from California, a sculptor, named Stocks.  The Englishmen were closely related to a large-toothed, very important Lady Somethingorother, high up in the diplomatic sphere, and the Californian possessed a truly formidable aunt.  Hence the three young men appeared in fashionable circles at decent intervals.  Later, Peter learned to know their redoubtable relatives as “Rabbits”

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The Purple Heights from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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