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“ You should walk with your mother, dear,” cried the lady from Geneva, losing patience.
“ With my mother dear!” exclaimed the young girl. Winterbourne saw that she scented interference. “My mother never walked ten steps in her life. And then, you know," she added, with a laugh, “ I am more than five years old."
You are old enough to be more reasonable. You are old enough, dear Miss Miller, to be talked about."
Daisy looked at Mrs. Walker, smiling intensely. “Talked about? What do you mean?”
“Come into my carriage, and I will tell you.”
Daisy turned her quickened glance again from one of the gentlemen beside her to the other. Mr. Giovanelli was bowing to and fro, rubbing down his gloves and laughing very agreeably; Winterbourne thought it a most unpleasant scene. “I don't think I want to know what you mean," said Daisy, presently. “I don't think I should like it."
Winterbourne wished that Mrs. Walker would tuck in her carriage-rug and drive away; but this lady did not enjoy being defied, as she afterward told him. “Should you prefer being thought a very reckless girl ?" she demanded.
“Gracious !” exclaimed Daisy. She looked again at Mr. Giovanelli, then she turned to Winterbourne. There was a little pink flush in her cheek; she was tremendously pretty. “Does Mr. Winterbourne think," she asked, slowly, smiling, throwing back her head and glancing at him from head to foot, " that, to save my reputation, I ought to get into the carriage ?”
Winterbourne colored; for an instant he hesitated greatly. It seemed so strange to hear her speak that way of her “reputation.” But he himself, in fact, must speak in accordance with gallantry. The finest gallantry, here, was simply to tell her the truth; and the truth, for Winterbourne, as the few indications I have been able to give have made him known to the reader, was that Daisy Miller should take Mrs. Walker's advice. He looked at her exquisite prettiness, and then he said. very gently, “ I think you should get into the carriage.”
Daisy gave a violent laugh. “I never heard anything so stiff! If this is improper, Mrs. Walker,” she pursued, “ then I am all improper, and you must give me up. Good-by; I hope you'll have a lovely ride !” and, with Mr. Giovanelli, who made a triumphantly obsequious salute, she turned away.
NANDA AND VANDERBANK.1
(From "The Awkward Age.”) The lower windows of the great white house, which stood high and square, opened to a wide flagged terrace, the parapet of which, an old balustrade of stone, was broken in the middle of its course by a flight of stone steps that descended to a wonderful garden. The terrace had the afternoon shade and fairly hung over the prospect that dropped away and circled it — the prospect, beyond the series of gardens, of scattered, splendid trees and green glades, an horizon mainly of woods. Nanda Brookenham, one day at the end of July, coming out to find the place unoccupied as yet by other visitors, stood there awhile with an air of happy possession. She moved from end to end of the terrace, pausing, gazing about her, taking in with a face that showed the pleasure of a brief independence the combination of delightful things — of old rooms, with old decorations that gleamed and gloomed through the high windows, of old gardens that squared themselves in the wide angles of old walls, of wood-walks rustling in the afternoon breeze and stretching away to further reaches of solitude and summer. The scene had an expectant stillness that she was too charmed to desire to break; she watched it, listened to it, followed with her eyes the white butterflies among the flowers below her, then gave a start as the cry of a
peacock came to her from an unseen alley. It set her, after a · minute, into less difficult motion; she passed slowly down the
steps, wandering further, looking back at the big bright house, but pleased again to see no one else appear. If the sun was still high enough she had a pink parasol. She went through the gardens one by one, skirting the high walls that were so like “collections” and thinking how, later on, the nectarines and plums would Aush there. She exchanged a friendly greeting with a man at work, passed through an open door and, turning this way and that, finally found herself, in the park, at some distance from the house. It was a point she had had to take another rise to reach, a place marked by an old green bench for a larger sweep of the view, which, in the distance, where the woods stopped, showed, in the most English way in the world, the color-spot of an old red village and the tower of an old gray church. She had sunk down upon the bench almost with a sense of adventure, yet not too fluttered to wonder if it wouldn't have been happy to bring a book; the charm of which, precisely, would have been in feeling everything about her too beautiful to let her read.
1 Copyright 1899, by Harper & Brothers.
The sense of adventure grew in her, presently becoming aware of a stir in the thicket below, followed by the coming into sight, on a path that, mounting, passed near her seat, of a wanderer whom, had his particular, his exceptional identity not quickly appeared, it might have disappointed her a trifle to have to recog. nize as a friend. He saw her immediately, stopped, laughed, waved his hat, then bounded up the slope and, brushing his forehead with his handkerchief, confessing to being hot, was rejoicing there before her. Her own ejaculation on first seeing him “Why, Mr. Van !”— had had an ambiguous sharpness that was rather for herself than for her visitor. She made room for him on the bench, and in a moment he was cooling off and they were both explaining. The great thing was that he had walked from the station to stretch his legs, coming far round, for the lovely hour and the pleasure of it, by a way he had learnt on some previous occasion of being at Mertle.
“You've already staid here then?” Nanda, who had arrived but half an hour before, spoke as if she had lost the chance to give him a new impression.
" I've staid here — yes, but not with Mitchy; with some people or other — who the dence can they have been ? — who had the place for a few months a year or two ago.”
“Don't you even remember?”
Vanderbank wondered and laughed. “It will come to me. But it's a charming sign of London relations, isn't it? — that one can come down to people this way, and be awfully well done for' and all that, and then go away and lose the whole thing, quite forget to whom one has been beholden. It's a queer life.”
Nanda seemed for an instant to wish to say that one might deny the queerness, but she said something else instead. “I suppose a man like you doesn't quite feel that he is beholden : it's awfully good of him — it's doing a great deal for anybody should come down at all; so that it would add immensely to his burden if anybody had to be remembered for it.” “I don't know what you mean by a man like me,
"" Vanderbank returned. “I'm not any particular kind of a man.” She had been looking at him, but she looked away, on this, and he continued good-humored and explanatory. “If you mean that I go about such a lot, how do you know it but by the fact that you're
everywhere now yourself? - 80 that, whatever I am, in short, you're just as bad.”
“ You admit then that you are everywhere. I may be just as bad,” the girl went on," but the point is that I'm not nearly so good. Girls are such hacks — they can't be anything else.”
“ And, pray, what are fellows who are in the beastly grind of fearfully busy offices? There isn't an old cab horse in London that's kept at it, I assure you, as I am. Besides,” the young man added, “if I'm out every night and off somewhere, like this, for Sunday, can't you understand, my dear child, the fundamental reason of it?"
Nanda, with her eyes on him again, studied an instant this mystery. “Am I to infer with delight that it's the sweet hope of meeting me? It isn't,” she continued in a moment, “ as if there were any necessity for your saying that. What's the use — ?” But, impatiently, she stopped short.
He was eminently gay even if his companion was not. “Because we're such jolly old friends that we really needn't so much as speak at all? Yes, thank goodness — thank goodness.” He had been looking around him, taking in the scene; he had dropped his hat on the ground and, completely at his ease, though still more wishing to show it, had crossed his legs and closely folded his arms. “What a tremendously jolly place! If I can't for the life of me recall who they were — the other people — I've the comfort of being sure their minds are an equal blank. Do they even remember the place they had ? •We had some fellows down, at - where was it, the big white house last November! and there was one of them, out of the What-do-you-call-it ? — you know — who might have been a decent enough chap if he had not presumed so on his gifts.'” Vanderbank paused a minute, but his companion said nothing, and he pursued: “It does show, doesn't it ? the fact that we do meet this way — the tremendous change that has taken place in your life in the last three months. I mean, if I'm everywhere, as you said just now, your being just the same.”
“Yes - you see what you've done." “How, what I've done?”
“You plunge into the woods for change, for solitude,” the girl said, “and the first thing you do is to find me waylaying you in the depths of the forest. But I really couldn't- if you'll reflect upon it -- know you were coming this way.”
Vanderbank sat there with his position unchanged, but with a constant little shake in the foot that hung down, as if everything
and what she now put before him not least was much too pleasant to be reflected on. “May I smoke a cigarette ?"
Nanda waited a little; her friend had taken out his silver case, which was of ample form, and as he extracted a cigarette she put forth her hand. May I?” She turned the case over with admiration.
Vanderbank hesitated. Do you smoke with Mr. Longdon?” “Immensely. But what has that to do with it?”
“ Everything, everything." He spoke with a faint ring of impatience. “I want you to do with me exactly as you do with him."
“Ah, that's soon said !” the girl replied in a peculiar tone. “How do you mean, to 'do'?”
“Well then, to be. What shall I say?” Vanderbank pleasantly wondered while his foot kept up its motion. “To feel.”
She continued to handle the cigarette-case, withont, however, having profited by its contents. “I don't think that, as regards Mr. Longdon and me, you know quite so much as you suppose.”
Vanderbank laughed and smoked. “I take for granted he tells me everything.”
“Ah, but you scarcely take for granted I do!” She rubbed her cheek an instant with the polished silver, again, the next moment, turning over the case. “ This is the kind of one I should like."
Her companion glanced down at it. Why, it holds twenty.” “Well, I want one that holds twenty.”
Vanderbank only threw out his smoke. “I want so to give you something," he said at last, "that in my relief at lighting on an object that will do, I will, if you don't look out, give you either that or a pipe.”
“Do you mean this particular one?”
She kept it - continued to finger it. “And by whom was it given to you?”
At this he turned to her smiling. “You think I've forgotten that too ?”
“Certainly you must have forgotten, to be willing to give it away again."
“But how do you know it was a present?”
“Such things always are — people don't buy them for themselves."