A bitter answer leaped to his tongue, but he was learning self-restraint.
"I wonder why you say things like that," was all he permitted himself to say.
She looked at him with those indifferent eyes of hers.
"It looks as if you didn't set much store on me," he added.
"Why should I?"
"No reason at all."
He reached over for his paper.
"You are quick-tempered," she said, when she saw the gesture. "You do take offence easily."
He smiled and looked at her appealingly.
"Will you do something for me?" he asked.
"That depends what it is."
"Let me walk back to the station with you tonight."
"I don't mind."
He went out after tea and went back to his rooms, but at eight o'clock, when the shop closed, he was waiting outside.
"You are a caution," she said, when she came out. "I don't understand you."
"I shouldn't have thought it was very difficult," he answered bitterly.
"Did any of the girls see you waiting for me?"
"I don't know and I don't care."
"They all laugh at you, you know. They say you're spoony on me."
"Much you care," he muttered.
"Now then, quarrelsome."
At the station he took a ticket and said he was going to accompany her home.
"You don't seem to have much to do with your time," she said.
"I suppose I can waste it in my own way."
They seemed to be always on the verge of a quarrel. The fact was that he hated himself for loving her. She seemed to be constantly humiliating him, and for each snub that he endured he owed her a grudge. But she was in a friendly mood that evening, and talkative: she told him that her parents were dead; she gave him to understand that she did not have to earn her living, but worked for amusement.
"My aunt doesn't like my going to business. I can have the best of everything at home. I don't want you to think I work because I need to." Philip knew that she was not speaking the truth. The gentility of her class made her use this pretence to avoid the stigma attached to earning her living.
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