`Well, Queen of Sheba!' he said, laughing.
`But why?' she asked.
`I think it suits you. You've got a new frock on.'
She flushed, asking:
`And what of it?'
`Suits you--awfully! I could design you a dress.'
`How would it be?'
He stood in front of her, his eyes glittering as he expounded. He kept her eyes fixed with his. Then suddenly he took hold of her. She half started back. He drew the stuff of her blouse tighter, smoothed it over her breast.
`More so!' he explained.
But they were both of them flaming with blushes, and immediately he ran away. He had touched her. His whole body was quivering with the sensation.
There was already a sort of secret understanding between them. The next evening he went into the cinematograph with her for a few minutes before train-time. As they sat, he saw her hand lying near him. For some moments he dared not touch it. The pictures danced and dithered. Then he took her hand in his. It was large and firm; it filled his grasp. He held it fast. She neither moved nor made any sign. When they came out his train was due. He hesitated.
`Good-night,' she said. He darted away across the road.
The next day he came again, talking to her. She was rather superior with him.
`Shall we go a walk on Monday?' he asked.
She turned her face aside.
`Shall you tell Miriam?' she replied sarcastically.
`I have broken off with her,' he said.
`No! I had made up my mind. I told her quite definitely I should consider myself free.'
Clara did not answer, and he returned to his work. She was so quiet and so superb!
On the Saturday evening he asked her to come and drink coffee with him in a restaurant, meeting him after work was over. She came, looking very reserved and very distant. He had three-quarters of an hour to train-time.
`We will walk a little while,' he said.
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