intercourse an element so dire? No, no: it was useless to attempt to convey to Mrs. Grose, just as it is scarcely less so to attempt to suggest here, how, in our short, stiff brush in the dark, he fairly shook me with admiration. I was of course thoroughly kind and merciful; never, never yet had I placed on his little shoulders hands of such tenderness as those with which, while I rested against the bed, I held him there well under fire. I had no alternative but, in form at least, to put it to him.
You must tell me nowand all the truth. What did you go out for? What were you doing there?
I can still see his wonderful smile, the whites of his beautiful eyes, and the uncovering of his little teeth shine to me in the dusk. If I tell you why, will you understand? My heart, at this, leaped into my mouth. would he tell me why? I found no sound on my lips to press it, and I was aware of replying only with a vague, repeated, grimacing nod. He was gentleness itself, and while I wagged my head at him he stood there more than ever a little fairy prince. It was his brightness indeed that gave me a respite. Would it be so great if he were really going to tell me? Well, he said at last, just exactly in order that you should do this.
Think mefor a changebad! I shall never forget the sweetness and gaiety with which he brought out the word, nor how, on top of it, he bent forward and kissed me. It was practically the end of everything. I met his kiss and I had to make, while I folded him for a minute in my arms, the most stupendous effort not to cry. He had given exactly the account of himself that permitted least of my going behind it, and it was only with the effect of confirming my acceptance of it that, as I presently glanced about the room, I could say
Then you didnt undress at all?
He fairly glittered in the gloom. Not at all. I sat up and read.
And when did you go down?
At midnight. When Im bad I am bad!
I see, I seeits charming. But how could you be sure I would know it?
Oh, I arranged that with Flora. His answers rang out with a readiness! She was to get up and look out.
Which is what she did do. It was I who fell into the trap!
So she disturbed you, and, to see what she was looking at, you also lookedyou saw.
While you, I concurred, caught your death in the night air!
He literally bloomed so from this exploit that he could afford radiantly to assent. How otherwise should I have been bad enough? he asked. Then, after another embrace, the incident and our interview closed on my recognition of all the reserves of goodness that, for his joke, he had been able to draw upon.
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