He laughed too. They certainly had many recollections in common, though not all laughable. “I don’t think I’m quite so—so earnest as I used to be,” he smiled.
“Ah, but I like you earnest, Marko.”
There was the tiniest silence between them. Yet it seemed to Sabre a very long silence.
She was again the one to speak, and her tone was rather abrupt and high-pitched as if she, too, were conscious of a long silence and broke it deliberately, as one breaks, with an effort, constraint.
“And how’s Mabel?”
“She’s all right. She’s ever so keen on this Garden Home business.”
“She would be,” said Nona.
“And so am I!” said Sabre. Something in her tone made him say it defiantly.
She laughed. “I’m sure you are, Marko. Well, good-by”; and as Derry and Toms began to turn with his customary sedateness of motion she made the remark, “I’m so glad you don’t wear trouser clips, Marko. I do loathe trouser clips.”
He told her that he rode “one of those chainless bikes.”
He said it rather mumblingly. Exactly in that tone she used to say things like, “I do like you in that brown suit, Marko.”
He resumed his ride. A mile farther on he overtook, on a slight rise, an immense tree trunk slung between three pairs of wheels and dragged by two tremendous horses, harnessed tandemwise. As he passed them came the smell of warm horseflesh and his thought was “Pretty!”
He shot ahead and a line came into his mind:
“Was this the face that launched a thousand ships?”
Well, he had had certain aspirations, dreams, visions....
He was upon the crest whence the road ran down into Tidborough. Beneath him the spires of the Cathedral lifted exquisitely above the surrounding city.
“Those houses in King’s Close are going to be eighty pounds a year, and what do you think, Mrs. Toller is going to take one!"...
Sabre found but little business awaiting him when he got to his office. When he had disposed of it he sat some little time staring absent-mindedly at the cases whereon were ranged the books of his publication. Then he took out the manuscript of “England” and turned over the pages. He wondered what Nona would think of it. He would like to tell her about it.
Twyning came in.
Twyning rarely entered Sabre’s room. Sabre did not enter Twyning’s twice in a year. Their work ran on separate lines and there was something, unexpressed, the reverse of much sympathy between them. Twyning was an older man than Sabre. He was only two years older in computation by age but he was very much more in appearance, in manner and in business experience. He had been in the firm as a boy checker