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Elizabeth Bibesco
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 94 pages of information about Balloons.

Eve shivered.  Almost unconsciously she fingered the mud guard.  “A room is a horrible unprivate thing,” she said.  “People walk in and out of it, any one, and there are books and photographs and letters.  It is a market place, not a sanctuary,—­whereas you....”  She looked at the little motor.  It was too dark to see anything, but every line of it was branded on her heart.

“No one will ever love you as I did,” she said to it and slowly, wearily, dragging one foot after another, she walked away into the cold raw night.

* * * * *

“Nothing in the world like winter air to make you feel fit,” Bob said to himself as he swung himself along the road at a tremendous pace.

“Jove, what a sunset!” he added, looking up at the red gold ruffles slowly untightening.  He reflected that there is nothing in the world like health.  Live cleanly and the high thinking will look after itself—­or at least won’t matter.  Physical condition, there’s nothing like it.  Love and that sort of thing all very well in its way, but a cold bath in the morning and plenty of exercise....  He began to whistle, and then—­because he did feel most frightfully well—­to run.

“Run a mile without being out of breath,” he thought complacently, and then—­because he hadn’t meant to—­("wasn’t even thinking of her,” he grumbled to Providence)—­he found himself outside her door.  And in the road there was a motor, a little coral coloured motor.  He looked at it in dismay and then he looked at the house.  He saw it was lit up and he imagined the room he knew so well.  The crimson damask curtains and the creamy walls, the glowing fire and the red roses, the roses he had sent for her.  Probably she would be sitting on that white fur rug on the floor, her arms clasped round her knees, her red hair as bright as the red hot coals, her dark eyes dreamy and half closed.

“Damn him, I wonder who he is,” and he started examining the motor.

“It’s not very new,” he thought, “the varnish is all off and those shiny leather seats are damned cold and slippery, draughty too, I should say; hood doesn’t close properly.  Must let in the rain like a leaking boat.”

He put his hand on the mud guard.  “Bent,” he said.  He felt a little cheered.  But then, looking at the glowing house, he grew disconsolate again.

“Wonder what they’re doing,” he grumbled to himself.  “Jabbering away, I’ll be bound.  Never was much of a hand at talking myself.  Wonder who the deuce he is.”

And then he looked contemptuously at the little motor.

“Damned if I couldn’t do her better than that,” he said.  “God, how cold it is.”

Irresolutely he moved away.  Then he began to run, but the raw air caught his throat and he felt out of breath.

“Not as young as I was,” he thought as he walked away into the damp night.

VII

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