"Poor thing, you must have had a rotten time," she murmured, and by way of showing her sympathy put her hand on his shoulder.
He took it and kissed it, but she withdrew it quickly.
"Why did you do that?" she asked, with a blush.
"Have you any objection?"
She looked at him for a moment with twinkling eyes, and she smiled.
"No," she said.
He got up on his knees and faced her. She looked into his eyes steadily, and her large mouth trembled with a smile.
"Well?" she said.
"You know, you are a ripper. I'm so grateful to you for being nice to me. I like you so much."
"Don't be idiotic," she said.
Philip took hold of her elbows and drew her towards him. She made no resistance, but bent forward a little, and he kissed her red lips.
"Why did you do that?" she asked again.
"Because it's comfortable."
She did not answer, but a tender look came into her eyes, and she passed her hand softly over his hair.
"You know, it's awfully silly of you to behave like this. We were such good friends. It would be so jolly to leave it at that."
"If you really want to appeal to my better nature," replied Philip, "you'll do well not to stroke my cheek while you're doing it."
She gave a little chuckle, but she did not stop.
"It's very wrong of me, isn't it?" she said.
Philip, surprised and a little amused, looked into her eyes, and as he looked he saw them soften and grow liquid, and there was an expression in them that enchanted him. His heart was suddenly stirred, and tears came to his eyes.
"Norah, you're not fond of me, are you?" he asked, incredulously.
"You clever boy, you ask such stupid questions."
"Oh, my dear, it never struck me that you could be."
He flung his arms round her and kissed her, while she, laughing, blushing, and crying, surrendered herself willingly to his embrace.
Presently he released her and sitting back on his heels looked at her curiously.
"Well, I'm blowed!" he said.
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