In this extremity his instinct led him to Gudrun. He threw away everything now -- he only wanted the relation established with her. He would follow her to the studio, to be near her, to talk to her. He would stand about the room, aimlessly picking up the implements, the lumps of clay, the little figures she had cast -- they were whimsical and grotesque -- looking at them without perceiving them. And she felt him following her, dogging her heels like a doom. She held away from him, and yet she knew he drew always a little nearer, a little nearer.

`I say,' he said to her one evening, in an odd, unthinking, uncertain way, `won't you stay to dinner tonight? I wish you would.'

She started slightly. He spoke to her like a man making a request of another man.

`They'll be expecting me at home,' she said.

`Oh, they won't mind, will they?' he said. `I should be awfully glad if you'd stay.'

Her long silence gave consent at last.

`I'll tell Thomas, shall I?' he said.

`I must go almost immediately after dinner,' she said.

It was a dark, cold evening. There was no fire in the drawing-room, they sat in the library. He was mostly silent, absent, and Winifred talked little. But when Gerald did rouse himself, he smiled and was pleasant and ordinary with her. Then there came over him again the long blanks, of which he was not aware.

She was very much attracted by him. He looked so preoccupied, and his strange, blank silences, which she could not read, moved her and made her wonder over him, made her feel reverential towards him.

But he was very kind. He gave her the best things at the table, he had a bottle of slightly sweet, delicious golden wine brought out for dinner, knowing she would prefer it to the burgundy. She felt herself esteemed, needed almost.

As they took coffee in the library, there was a soft, very soft knocking at the door. He started, and called `Come in.' The timbre of his voice, like something vibrating at high pitch, unnerved Gudrun. A nurse in white entered, half hovering in the doorway like a shadow. She was very good-looking, but strangely enough, shy and self-mistrusting.

`The doctor would like to speak to you, Mr Crich,' she said, in her low, discreet voice.

`The doctor!' he said, starting up. `Where is he?'

`He is in the dining-room.'

`Tell him I'm coming.'

He drank up his coffee, and followed the nurse, who had dissolved like a shadow.

`Which nurse was that?' asked Gudrun.

`Miss Inglis -- I like her best,' replied Winifred.

After a while Gerald came back, looking absorbed by his own thoughts, and having some of that tension and abstraction which is seen in a slightly drunken man. He did not say what the doctor had wanted him for, but stood before the fire, with his hands behind his back, and his face open and as if rapt. Not

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