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Paradise Garden eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 271 pages of information about Paradise Garden.

“Let him.  It’s time.  We can’t do anything.”

“We might try.”

“What?”

“Go there before damage is done, bring him home.”

“And make ourselves ridiculous.”

“Oh, that—!  I don’t care.”

“Well, I do.  You’ve got to let this problem work itself out, Pope.  It’s gone too far.  He’s on the brink of disillusionment.  Let it come, no matter how or what.”

“But violence—!”

“Let it come.  Better a violence which may cure than this quiet madness that is eating his soul away.”

“But Lloyd!  Jerry’s strength!  He might kill the brute.”

“Don’t fear.  If the man would fight Jerry might do him damage.  But he’ll run, Pope.  You can’t kill a bounder.  The breed is resilient.”

“I’m afraid.”

“You needn’t be.  This is the turning point of his affair.”

“Perhaps.  But in which way will it turn?”

“Wait.”

I was helpless.  Against my own judgment I did as he bade.  We waited.  We sat upon the terrace for awhile with the ladies, Jack reading aloud.  Una made no comment upon Jerry’s absence and gave no sign of her prescience of anything unusual, except the frequent turning of her head toward the house or toward the paths within the range of her vision, as though she hoped every moment that Jerry might appear.  The shadows lengthened.  Jack challenged the girl to a game of tennis and even offered to play in the double court against us both, but neither of us was willing.  I think she knew where Jerry had gone and, like me, was frightened.  It was a miserable afternoon.  As the dinner hour approached the ladies retired to dress and I gave a sigh of relief.  In my anxious state of mind the burden of entertaining them had weighed heavily upon me.  It had occurred to me that Una’s mother might have thought it strange that Jerry should have left them so suddenly without excuses, for he owed them an explanation at least.  I think some inkling of an unusual situation had entered Mrs. Habberton’s mind, for when dinner was nearly over and her host had not appeared, she made a vague remark about a letter that had come in the morning which might oblige her to curtail her visit, a tactful anticipation of any situation which might make their stay impossible.  The evening dragged hopelessly and the ladies retired early, while at the foot of the stair I made some fatuous remark about Jerry’s possibly having been summoned to town.  The “good-nights” were said with an excess of cheerfulness on Una’s part and my own which did nothing to conceal from either of us the real nature of our anxiety.

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