“She will that,” said Aaron.
“And can you find two men to stick together, without feeling criminal, and without cringing, and without betraying one another? You can’t. One is sure to go fawning round some female, then they both enjoy giving each other away, and doing a new grovel before a woman again.”
“Ay,” said Aaron.
After which Lilly was silent.
THE WAR AGAIN
“One is a fool,” said Lilly, “to be lachrymose. The thing to do is to get a move on.”
Aaron looked up with a glimpse of a smile. The two men were sitting before the fire at the end of a cold, wet April day: Aaron convalescent, somewhat chastened in appearance.
“Ay,” he said rather sourly. “A move back to Guilford Street.”
“Oh, I meant to tell you,” said Lilly. “I was reading an old Baden history. They made a law in 1528—not a law, but a regulation—that: if a man forsakes his wife and children, as now so often happens, the said wife and children are at once to be dispatched after him. I thought that would please you. Does it?”
“Yes,” said Aaron briefly.
“They would have arrived the next day, like a forwarded letter.”
“I should have had to get a considerable move on, at that rate,” grinned Aaron.
“Oh, no. You might quite like them here.” But Lilly saw the white frown of determined revulsion on the convalescent’s face.
“Wouldn’t you?” he asked.
Aaron shook his head.
“No,” he said. And it was obvious he objected to the topic. “What are you going to do about your move on?”
“Me!” said Lilly. “I’m going to sail away next week—or steam dirtily away on a tramp called the Maud Allen Wing.”
“London Dock. I fixed up my passage this morning for ten pounds. I am cook’s assistant, signed on.”
Aaron looked at him with a little admiration.
“You can take a sudden jump, can’t you?” he said.
“The difficulty is to refrain from jumping: overboard or anywhere.”
Aaron smoked his pipe slowly.
“And what good will Malta do you?” he asked, envious.
“Heaven knows. I shall cross to Syracuse, and move up Italy.”
“Sounds as if you were a millionaire.”
“I’ve got thirty-five pounds in all the world. But something will come along.”
“I’ve got more than that,” said Aaron.
“Good for you,” replied Lilly.
He rose and went to the cupboard, taking out a bowl and a basket of potatoes. He sat down again, paring the potatoes. His busy activity annoyed Aaron.
“But what’s the good of going to Malta? Shall YOU be any different in yourself, in another place? You’ll be the same there as you are here.”