`Why do you do such a strange thing?'

`It's an old custom. I suppose it is natural for a woman to want to bring live things into the world.'

`It is very awkward for me just now,' he said, laughing.

`It serves you right. There - that's all you can have of me'

She had turned round her chair, and, reaching over the back of it, presented her cheek to him gingerly.

`That's very shabby of you!'

`You should have catched me a minute ago when I had put the egg down! There!' she said defiantly, `I am without it now!' She had quickly withdrawn the egg a second time; but before he could quite reach her she had put it back as quickly, laughing with the excitement of her strategy. Then there was a little struggle, Jude making a plunge for it and capturing it triumphantly. Her face flushed; and becoming suddenly conscious he flushed also.

They looked at each other, panting; till he rose and said: `One kiss, now I can do it without damage to property; and I'll go!'

But she had jumped up too. `You must find me first!' she cried.

Her lover followed her as she withdrew. It was now dark inside the room, and the window being small he could not discover for a long time what had become of her, till a laugh revealed her to have rushed up the stairs, whither Jude rushed at her heels.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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