“But don’t they have parties or banquets? Aren’t there any fine hotels down there?”
“Yes, but they are all closed in summer, and the country people are poor. It’s a beautiful country, though.”
“How, beautiful?” she persisted.
“If you want to go in, I’ll show you some sketches, and you’ll see.”
Miss Bower rose. “All right. I won’t go to my fencing lesson this morning. Do you fence? Here comes your dog. You can’t move but he’s after you. He always makes a face at me when I meet him in the hall, and shows his nasty little teeth as if he wanted to bite me.”
In the studio Hedger got out his sketches, but to Miss Bower, whose favourite pictures were Christ Before Pilate and a redhaired Magdalen of Henner, these landscapes were not at all beautiful, and they gave her no idea of any country whatsoever. She was careful not to commit herself, however. Her vocal teacher had already convinced her that she had a great deal to learn about many things.
“Why don’t we go out to lunch somewhere?” Hedger asked, and began to dust his fingers with a handkerchief—which he got out of sight as swiftly as possible.
“All right, the Brevoort,” she said carelessly. “I think that’s a good place, and they have good wine. I don’t care for cocktails.”
Hedger felt his chin uneasily. “I’m afraid I haven’t shaved this morning. If you could wait for me in the Square? It won’t take me ten minutes.”
Left alone, he found a clean collar and handkerchief, brushed his coat and blacked his shoes, and last of all dug up ten dollars from the bottom of an old copper kettle he had brought from Spain. His winter hat was of such a complexion that the Brevoort hall boy winked at the porter as he took it and placed it on the rack in a row of fresh straw ones.
That afternoon Eden Bower was lying on the couch in her music room, her face turned to the window, watching the pigeons. Reclining thus she could see none of the neighbouring roofs, only the sky itself and the birds that crossed and recrossed her field of vision, white as scraps of paper blowing in the wind. She was thinking that she was young and handsome and had had a good lunch, that a very easy-going, light-hearted city lay in the streets below her; and she was wondering why she found this queer painter chap, with his lean, bluish cheeks and heavy black eyebrows, more interesting than the smart young men she met at her teacher’s studio.
Eden Bower was, at twenty, very much the same person that we all know her to be at forty, except that she knew a great deal less. But one thing she knew: that she was to be Eden Bower. She was like some one standing before a great show window full of beautiful and costly things, deciding which she will order. She understands that they will not all be delivered immediately, but one by one they will arrive at her