handsome, dissipated young fellow, possibly an undergraduate, who had been relating to her an experience of some humorous sort.
`Oh, Mr. Cockman, now! How can you tell such a tale to me in my innocence!' she cried gaily. `Mr. Cockman, what do you use to make your moustache curl so beautiful?' As the young man was clean shaven the retort provoked a laugh at his expense.
`Come!' said he, `I'll have a curacao; and a light, please.'
She served the liqueur from one of the lovely bottles and striking a match held it to his cigarette with ministering archness while he whiffed.
`Well, have you heard from your husband lately, my dear?' he asked.
`Not a sound,' said she.
`Where is he?'
`I left him in Australia; and I suppose he's there still.'
Jude's eyes grew rounder.
`What made you part from him?'
`Don't you ask questions, and you won't hear lies.'
`Come then, give me my change, which you've been keeping from me for the last quarter of an hour; and I'll romantically vanish up the street of this picturesque city.'
She handed the change over the counter, in taking which he caught her fingers and held them. There was a slight struggle and titter, and he bade her good-bye and left.
Jude had looked on with the eye of a dazed philosopher. It was extraordinary how far removed from his life Arabella now seemed to be. He could not realize their nominal closeness. And, this being the case, in his present frame of mind he was indifferent to the fact that Arabella was his wife indeed.
The compartment that she served emptied itself of visitors, and after a brief thought he entered it, and went forward to the counter. Arabella did not recognize him for a moment. Then their glances met. She started; till a humorous impudence sparkled in her eyes, and she spoke.
`Well, I'm blest! I thought you were underground years ago!'
`I never heard anything of you, or I don't know that I should have come here. But never mind! What shall I treat you to this afternoon? A Scotch and soda? Come, anything that the house will afford, for old acquaintance' sake!'
`Thanks, Arabella,' said Jude without a smile. `But I don't want anything more than I've had.' The fact was that her unexpected presence there had destroyed at a stroke his momentary taste for strong liquor as completely as if it had whisked him back to his milk-fed infancy.
`That's a pity, now you could get it for nothing.'
`How long have you been here?'
`About six weeks. I returned from Sydney three months ago. I always liked this business, you know.'
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