He disengaged the rug from about him. “No, I think I’ll get out here.” He turned towards her. “Look here, Nona. Get out here and walk up.” He echoed the little sound of feeling she had given, pretended laughter. “It will do you good after that enormous tea.”
She said something about the tea being too enormous for exertion.
The car drew up. He got out and turned to her. “Look here. Please do.”
He saw the colour fade away upon her face. “What for?”
“To talk.” It was all he could say.
She put away the rug and gave him her hand. Warm, and she said, “How dreadfully cold your hand is! Go on and get your tea, Jeffries. I’m going to walk up.”
The man touched his cap. The car slid away and left them.
They were within the gates. It had been a dull day. Evening stood mistily far up the long avenue of the drive and in the distances about the park on either hand. Among October’s massing leaves, a small disquiet stirred. The leaves banked orderly between their parent trunks. Sabre noticed as a curious thing how, when they stirred, they only trembled in their massed formations, not broke their ranks, as if some live thing ran beneath them.
He said, “Do you know what this seems to me? It seems as though it was only yesterday, or this morning, that you came to see me at the office and we talked. Well, I want it to be only yesterday. I want to go on from there.”
She said, “Yes.”
He hardly could hear the word. He looked at her. She was as tall as he. Not least of the contributions to her beauty in his eyes was the slim grace of her stature. But her face was averted; and he wanted most terribly to see her face. “Stand a minute and look at me, Nona.” He touched her arm. “I want to see your face.”
She turned towards him and raised her eyes to his eyes. “Oh, what is it you want to say, Marko?”
There was that which glistened upon her lower lids; and about her mouth were trembling movements; and in her throat a pulse beating.
He said, “It’s you I want to say something. I want you to explain some things. Some things you said. Nona, when you came into my room that day and shook hands you said, ‘There!’ when you gave me your hand. You took off your glove and said, ‘There!’ I want to know why you said ‘There!’ And you said, ‘Well, I had to come.’ And you said you were flotsam. And that night—when we’d been up to you—you said, ’Oh, Marko, do write to me.’ I want you to explain what you meant.”
She said, “Oh, how can you remember?”
He answered, “Because I remember, you must explain.”
“Please let me sit down, Marko.” She faltered a little laugh. “I can explain better sitting down.”
A felled trunk had been placed against the trees facing towards the parkland. They went to it and he sat beside her. She sat upright but bending forward a little over her crossed knees, her hands clasped on them, looking before her across the park.