`See, now; all the things of Maggie's knitting will be gone, and you will not have bought one. There are those deliciously soft warm things for the wrists - do buy them.'

`Oh, no,' said Stephen, `they must be intended for imaginative persons who can chill themselves on this warm day by thinking of the frosty Caucasus. Stern reason is my forte, you know. You must get Philip to buy those. By the way, why doesn't he come?'

`He never likes going where there are many people, though I enjoined him to come. He said he would buy up any of my goods that the rest of the world rejected. But now, do go and buy something of Maggie.'

`No, no - see - she has got a customer: there is old Wakem himself just coming up.'

Lucy's eyes turned with anxious interest towards Maggie, to see how she went through this first interview since a sadly memorable time with a man towards whom she must have so strange a mixture of feelings, but she was pleased to notice that Wakem had tact enough to enter at once into talk about the bazaar wares and appear interested in purchasing, smiling now and then kindly at Maggie, and not calling on her to speak much, as if he observed that she was rather pale and tremulous.

`Why, Wakem is making himself particularly amiable to your cousin,' said Stephen, in an undertone to Lucy. `Is it pure magnanimity? You talked of a family quarrel.'

`O, that will soon be quite healed, I hope,' said Lucy, becoming a little indiscreet in her satisfaction, and speaking with an air of significance. But Stephen did not appear to notice this, and as some lady-purchasers came up, he lounged on towards Maggie's end, handling trifles and standing aloof until Wakem, who had taken out his purse, had finished his transactions.

`My son came with me,' he overheard Wakem saying, `but he has vanished into some other part of the building, and has left all these charitable gallantries to me. I hope you'll reproach him for his shabby conduct.'

She returned his smile and bow, without speaking, and he turned away, only then observing Stephen and nodding to him. Maggie, conscious that Stephen was still there, busied herself with counting money, and avoided looking up. She had been well pleased that he had devoted himself to Lucy today, and had not come near her. They had begun the morning with an indifferent salutation and both had rejoiced in being aloof from each other, like a patient who has actually done without his opium, in spite of former failures in resolution. And during the last few days they had even been making up their minds to failures, looking to the outward events that must soon come to separate them, as a reason for dispensing with self-conquest in detail.

Stephen moved step by step as if he were being unwillingly dragged, until he had got round the open end of the stall and was half hidden by a screen of draperies. Maggie went on counting her money till she suddenly heard a deep gentle voice saying, `Aren't you very tired? Do let me bring you something - some fruit or jelly - mayn't I?'

The unexpected tones shook her like a sudden accidental vibration of a harp close by her.

`O no, thank you,' she said, faintly, and only half looking up for an instant.

`You look so pale,' Stephen insisted, in a more entreating tone. `I'm sure you're exhausted. I must disobey you, and bring something.'

`No, indeed I couldn't take it.'

`Are you angry with me? What have I done? Do look at me.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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