No; but one moment. Dont go.
She stopped. He was surveying her with a friendly smile. She noticed most reluctantly that he had a nice smile. His composure began to enrage her more and more. Long ere this he should have been writhing at her feet in the dust, crushed and abject.
You see, he said, Im awfully sorry, but its like this. I love music, but what I mean is, you werent playing a tune. It was just the same bit over and over again.
I was trying to get a phrase, said Annette, with dignity, but less coldly. In spite of herself she was beginning to thaw. There was something singularly attractive about this shockheaded youth.
Of music. For my waltz. I am composing a waltz.
A look of such unqualified admiration overspread the young mans face that the last remnants of the ice- pack melted. For the first time since they had met Annette found herself positively liking this blackguardly floor-smiter.
Can you compose music? he said, impressed.
I have written one or two songs.
It must be great to be able to do thingsartistic things, I mean, like composing.
Well, you do, dont you? You paint.
The young man shook his head with a cheerful grin.
I fancy, he said, I should make a pretty good housepainter. I want scope. Canvas seems to cramp me.
It seemed to cause him no discomfort. He appeared rather amused than otherwise.
Let me look.
She crossed over to the easel.
I shouldnt, he warned her. You really want to? Is this not mere recklessness? Very well, then.
To the eye of an experienced critic the picture would certainly have seemed crude. It was a study of a dark-eyed child holding a large black cat. Statisticians estimate that there is no moment during the day when one or more young artists somewhere on the face of the globe are not painting pictures of children holding cats.
I call it Child and Cat, said the young man. Rather a neat title, dont you think? Gives you the main idea of the thing right away. That, he explained, pointing obligingly with the stem of his pipe, is the cat.
Annette belonged to that large section of the public which likes or dislikes a picture according to whether its subject happens to please or displease them. Probably there was not one of the million or so child- and-cat eyesores at present in existence which she would not have liked. Besides, he had been very nice about her music.
I think its splendid, she announced.
The young mans face displayed almost more surprise than joy.
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