drewup at her hotel .Tell her I understand, will youI'drather like her to know that "I'll tell her, Nelson," she promised; and climbed the stairsalone to her dreary roomSusy's one fear was that Strefford, when he returned the nextday, should treat their talk of the previous jordans 7 evening as a fit of"nerves" to be jested awayHe might, indeed, resent herbehaviour too deeply to seek to see her at once; but hiseasygoing modern attitude toward conduct and convictions madethat improbableShe had an idea that what he had most mindedwas her dropping so unceremoniously out of the Embassy DinnerBut, after all, why should she see him againShe had hadenough of explanations during the last months to have learnedhow seldom they explain anythingIf the other person did notunderstand at the first word, at the first glance even,subsequent elucidations served only to deepen the obscurityAnd she wanted above all--and especially since her hour withNelson Vanderlyn--to keep herself free, aloof, to retain herhold on her precariously recovered selfShe sat down and wroteto Strefford--and the letter was only a little less painful towrite than the one she had despatched to NickIt was not thather own feelings were in any like measure engaged; but because,as the decision to give up Strefford affirmed itself, sheremembered only his kindness, his forbearance, his good humour,and all the other qualities she had always liked in him; andbecause she felt ashamed of the hesitations which must cause himso much pain and humiliationYeshumiliation chieflySheknew that what she had to say would hurt his pride, in whateverway jordan shoes 14 she framed her renunciation; and her pen wavered, hating itstaskThen she remembered Vanderlyn's words about his wifeThere are some of our old times I don't suppose I shall everforget--" and a phrase of Grace Fulmer's that she had but halfgrasped at the timeYou haven't been married long enough tounderstand how trifling such things seem in the balance of one'smemoriesHere were two people who had penetrated farther than she intothe labyrinth of the wedded state, and struggled through some ofits thorniest passages; and yet both, one consciously, the otherhalf-unaware, testified to the mysterious fact which was alreadydawning on herthat the influence of a marriage begun inmutual understanding is too deep not to reassert itself even inthe moment of flight and denialThe real reason is that you're not Nick" was what she wouldhave said to Strefford if she had dared to set down the baretruth; and she knew that, whatever she wrote, he was too acutenot to read that into itHe'll think it's because I'm still in love with Nick andperhaps I amBut even if I were, the difference doesn't seemto lie there, after all, but deeper, in things we've shared thatseem to be meant to outlast love, or to change it into somethingdifferent If she could have hoped to make Streffordunderstand that, the letter would have been easy enough towrite--but she knew just at what point his imagination wouldfail, in what obvious and superficial inferences it would rest"Poor Streff--poor me" she thought as she sealed the letterAfter she had despatched it a sense of blankness descended onherShe had succeeded in driving from her mind all vainhesitations, doubts, returns upon herselfher healthy systemnaturally rejected themBut they left a queer emptiness inwhich her thoughts rattled about as thoughts might, shesupposed, in the first moments after death--before one got usedto itTo get used to being deadthat seemed to be herimmediate businessAnd she felt such a novice at it--felt sohorribly aliveHow had those others learned to do withoutlivingNelson--well, he was still in the throes; and probablynever would understand, or be able to communicate, the lessonwhen he had mastered itBut Grace Fulmer--she suddenlyremembered that Grace was in Paris, and set forth to find herChapter 24 NICK LANSING had walked out a long way into cheap air jordans the CampagnaHishours were seldom his own, for both Mrand MrsHicks werebecoming more and more addicted to sudden and somewhat imperiousdemands upon his time; but on this occasion he had simplyslipped away after luncheon, and taking the tram to the PortaSalaria, had wandered on thence in the direction of the PonteNomentanoHe wanted to get away and think; but now that he had done it thebusiness proved as unfruitful as everything he had put his handto since he had left VeniceThink--think about whatHisfuture seemed to him a negligible matter since he had received,two months earlier, the few lines in which Susy had asked himfor her freedomThe letter had been a shock--though he had fancied himself soprepared for it--yet it had also, in another sense, been arelief, since, now that at last circumstances compelled him towrite to her, they also told him what to sayAnd he had said itas briefly and simply as possible, telling her that he would putno obstacle in the way of her release, that he held himself ather lawyer's disposal to answer any further communication--andthat he would never forget their days together, or cease tobless her for themThat was allHe gave his Roman banker's address, and waitedfor another letter; but none cameProbably the "formalities,"whatever they were, took longer than he had supposed; and beingin no haste to recover his own liberty, he did not try to learnthe cause of the delayFrom that moment, however, heconsidered himself virtually free, and ceased, by the sametoken, to take any interest in his own futureHis life seemedas flat as a convalescent's first days after the fever hasdroppedThe only thing he was sure of was that he was not going toremain in the Hickses' employwhen they left Rome for CentralAsia he had no intention of accompanying themThe part of MrButtles' successor was becoming daily more intolerable to him,for the very reasons that had probably made it most gratifyingto MrButtlesTo be treated by Mrand MrsHicks as a paidoracle, a paraded and petted piece of property, was a good dealmore distasteful than he could have imagined any relation withthese kindly people could beAnd since their aspirations hadbecome frankly social he found his task, if easier, yet far lesscongenial than during his first months with themHe preferredpatiently explaining to MrsHicks, for the hundredth time, thatSassanian and Saracenic were not interchangeable terms, tounravelling for her the genealogies of her titled guests, andreminding her, when she "seated" her dinner-parties, that Dukesranked higher than PrincesNo--the job was decidedlyintolerable; and he would have to look out for another means ofearning his livingBut that was not what he had really gotaway to think aboutHe knew he should never starve; he hadeven begun to believe again in his bookWhat he wanted tothink of was Susy--or rather, it was Susy that he could not helpthinking of, on whatever train of thought he set outAgain and again he fancied he had established a truce with thepasthad come to terms--the terms of defeat and failure withthat bright enemy called happinessAnd, in truth, he hadreached the jordans for sale point of definitely knowing that he could neverreturn to the kind of life that he and Susy had embarked onIthad been the tragedy, of their relation that loving her rousedin him ideals she could never satisfyHe had fallen in lovewith her because she was, like himself, amused, unprejudiced anddisenchanted; and he could not go on loving her unless sheceased to be all these thingsFrom that circle there was noissue, and in it he desperately revolvedIf he had not heard such persistent rumours of her re-marriageto Lord Altringham he might have tried to see her again; but,aware of the danger and the hopelessness of a meeting, he was,on the whole, glad to have a reason for avoiding itSuch, atleast, he honestly supposed to be his state of mind until hefound himself, as on this occasion, free to follow out histhought to its endThat end, invariably, was Susy; not thebundle of qualities and defects into which his critical spirithad tried to sort her out, but the soft blur of identity, ofpersonality, of eyes, hair, mouth, laugh, tricks of speech andgesture, that were all so solely and profoundly her own, and yetso mysteriously independent of what she might do, say, think, incrucial circumstancesHe remembered her once saying to himAfter all, you were right when you wanted me to be yourmistress," and the indignant stare of incredulity with which hehad answered herYet in these hours it was the palpable imageof her that clung closest, till, as invariably happened, hisvision came full circle, and  
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