She sighed; to sentimentalize and receive no response in kind, is like sitting down on a chair which isn’t there. After dinner, when she and Maurice came up to their room, which had fusty red hangings and a marble-topped center table standing coldly under a remote chandelier, she sighed again, for Maurice said that, as for this hole of a hotel, the only thing he thought of, was how soon they could get out of it! “I can get that little house I told you about, only it’s rather out of the way. Not many of your kind of people ’round!”
She knelt down beside him, pushing his newspaper aside and pressing her cheek against his. “That doesn’t make any difference!” she said; “I’m glad not to know anybody. I just want you! I don’t want people.”
“Neither do I,” Maurice agreed; “I’d have to shell out my cigars to ’em if they were men!”
“Oh, is that your reason?” she said, laughing.
“Say, Star, would you mind moving? I was just reading—”
She rose, and, going over to the window, stood looking out at the streaming rain in one of those empty silences which at first had been so alluringly mysterious to him. She was waiting for his hand on her shoulder, his kiss on her hair—but he was immersed in his paper. “How can he be interested about football, now, when we’re alone?” she thought, wistfully. Then, to remind him of lovelier things, she began to sing, very softly:
“Art thou poor, yet hast thou golden slumbers?
0 sweet content!
To add to golden numbers, golden numbers,
O sweet content!—0 sweet, O sweet content—”
He dropped his paper and listened—and it seemed as if music made itself visible in his ardent, sensitive face! After a while he got up and went over to the window, and kissed her gently ...
Maurice was very happy in these first months in Mercer. The Weston office liked him—and admired him, also, which pleased his young vanity!—though he was jeered at for an incorrigible and alarming truthfulness which pointed out disadvantages to possible clients, but which—to the amazement of the office—frequently made a sale! As a result he acquired, after a while, several small gilt hatchets, presented by the “boys,” and also the nickname of “G. Washington.” He accepted these tributes with roars of laughter, but pointed to results: “I get the goods!” So, naturally, he liked his work—he liked it very much! The joy of bargaining and his quick and perhaps dangerously frank interest in clients as personalities, made him a most beguiling salesman; as a result he became, in an astonishingly short time, a real force in the office; all of which hurried him into maturity. But the most important factor in his happiness was his adoration of Eleanor. He was perfectly contented, evening after evening in the hotel, to play her accompaniments (on a rented piano), read poetry aloud, and beat her at solitaire. Also, she helped him in his practicing with a certain