THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница

She asked him why he had chosen Tavistock Square. It was central, he explained, and he liked the trees. It was quite nice when you looked out of the window. She got up to look, that would be a good way to make a move, then she would put on her hat and say good-bye to him.

‘Yes, it is rather charming, isn’t it. It’s so London; it gives one a sort of jolly feeling.’

She turned to him, standing by her side, as she said this. He put his arm round her waist and kissed her full on THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница the lips. No woman was ever more surprised in her life. She was so taken aback that she never thought of doing anything. His lips were soft and there was a perfume of youth about him which was really rather delightful. But what he was doing was preposterous. He was forcing her lips apart with the tip of his tongue and now he had both arms round her. She did not feel angry, she did not feel inclined to laugh, she did not know what she felt. And now she had a notion that he was gently drawing her THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница along, his lips still pressing hers, she felt quite distinctly the glow of his body, it was as though there was a furnace inside him, it was really remarkable; and then she found herself laid on the divan and he was beside her, kissing her mouth and her neck and her cheeks and her eyes. Julia felt a strange pang in her heart. She took his head in her hands and kissed his lips.

A few minutes later she was standing at the chimney-piece, in front of the looking-glass, making herself tidy.

‘Look at my THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница hair.’

He handed her a comb and she ran it through. Then she put on her hat. He was standing just behind her, and over her shoulder she saw his face with those eager blue eyes and a faint smile in them.

‘And I thought you were such a shy young man,’ she said to his reflection. He chuckled.

‘When am I going to see you again?’

‘Do you want to see me again?’

‘Rather.’

She thought rapidly. It was too absurd, of course she had no intention of seeing him again, it was stupid of her to have let THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница him behave like that, but it was just as well to temporize. He might be tiresome if she told him that the incident would have no sequel.

‘I’ll ring up one of these days.’

‘Swear.’

‘On my honour.’

‘Don’t be too long.’

He insisted on coming down stairs with her and putting her into a cab. She had wanted to go down alone, so that she could have a look at the cards attached to the bells on the lintel.

‘Damn it all, I ought at least to know his name.’

But he gave her no THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница chance. When the taxi drove off she sank into one corner of it and gurgled with laughter.

‘Raped, my dear. Practically raped. At my time of life. And without so much as a by your leave. Treated me like a tart. Eighteenth-century comedy, that’s what it is. I might have been a waiting-maid. In a hoop, with those funny puffy things—what the devil are they called?—that they wore to emphasize their hips, an apron and a scarf round me neck.’ Then with vague memories of Farquhar and Goldsmith she invented the dialogue. ‘La, sir, ’tis shame THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница to take advantage of a poor country girl. What would Mrs Abigail, her ladyship’s woman, say an she knew her ladyship’s brother had ravished me of the most precious treasure a young woman in my station of life can possess, videlicet her innocence. Fie, o fie, sir.’

When Julia got home the masseuse was already waiting for her. Miss Phillips and Evie were having a chat.

‘Wherever ’ave you been, Miss Lambert?’ said Evie. ‘An’ what about your rest, I should like to know.’

‘Damn my rest.’

Julia tore off her clothes, and flung them with THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница ample gestures all over the room. Then, stark naked, she skipped on to the bed, stood up on it for a moment, like Venus rising from the waves, and then throwing herself down stretched herself out.

‘What’s the idea?’ said Evie.

‘I feel good.’

‘Well, if I behaved like that people’d say I’d been drinkin’.’

Miss Phillips began to massage her feet. She rubbed gently, to rest and not to tire her.

‘When you came in just now, like a whirlwind,’ she said, ‘I thought you looked twenty years younger. Your eyes were shining something THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница wonderful.’



‘Oh, keep that for Mr Gosselyn, Miss Phillips.’ And then as an afterthought, ‘I feel like a two-year-old.’

And it was the same at the theatre later on. Archie Dexter, who was her leading man, came into her dressing-room to speak about something. She had just finished making-up. He was startled.

‘Hulloa, Julia, what’s the matter with you tonight? Gosh, you look swell. Why you don’t look a day more than twenty-five.’

‘With a son of sixteen it’s no good pretending I’m so terribly young any more. I’m forty and THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница I don’t care who knows it.’

‘What have you done to your eyes? I’ve never seen them shine like that before.’

She felt in tremendous form. They had been playing the play, it was called The Powder Puff, for a good many weeks, but tonight Julia played it as though it were the first time. Her performance was brilliant. She got laughs that she had never got before. She always had magnetism, but on this occasion it seemed to flow over the house in a great radiance. Michael happened to be watching the last THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница two acts from the corner of a box and at the end he came into her dressing-room.

‘D’you know the prompter says we played nine minutes longer tonight, they laughed so much.’

‘Seven curtain calls. I thought the public were going on all night.’

‘Well, you’ve only got to blame yourself, darling. There’s no one in the world who could have given the performance you gave tonight.’

‘To tell you the truth I was enjoying myself. Christ, I’m hungry. What have we got for supper?’

‘Tripe and onions.’

‘Oh, how divine!’ She flung her arms THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница round his neck and kissed him. ‘I adore tripe and onions. Oh, Michael, Michael, if you love me, if you’ve got any spark of tenderness in that hard heart of yours, let me have a bottle of beer.’

‘Julia.’

‘Just this once. It’s not often I ask you to do anything for me.’

‘Oh well, after the performance you gave tonight I suppose I can’t say no, but by God, I’ll see that Miss Phillips pitches into you tomorrow.’

WHEN Julia got to bed and slipped her feet down to the comfort of her THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница hot-water bottle, she took a happy look at her room, rose-pink and Nattier-blue, with the gold cherubs of her dressing-table, and sighed with satisfaction. She thought how very Madame de Pompadour it was. She put out the light but she did not feel at all sleepy. She would have liked really to go to Quag’s and dance, but not to dance with Michael, to dance with Louis XV or Ludwig of Bavaria or Alfred de Musset. Clairon and the Bal de l’Op?ra. She remembered the miniature Charles had once given her. That was THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница how she felt tonight. Such an adventure had not happened to her for ages. The last time was eight years before. That was an episode that she ought to have been thoroughly ashamed of; goodness, how scared she’d been afterwards, but she had in point of fact never been able to think of it since without a chuckle.

That had been an accident too. She had been acting for a long time without a rest and she badly needed one. The play she was in was ceasing to attract and they were about to start rehearsing a new one THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница when Michael got the chance of letting the theatre to a French company for six weeks. It seemed a good opportunity for Julia to get away. Dolly had rented a house at Cannes for the season and Julia could stay with her. It was just before Easter when she started off, and the trains south were so crowded that she had not been able to get a sleeper, but at a travel agency they had said that it would be quite all right and there would be one waiting for her at the station in Paris. To her consternation THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница she found when they got to Paris that nothing seemed to be known about her, and the chef de train told her that every sleeper was engaged. The only chance was that someone should not turn up at the last moment. She did not like the idea of sitting up all night in the corner of a first-class carriage, and went into dinner with a perturbed mind. She was given a table for two, and soon a man came and sat down opposite her. She paid no attention to him. Presently the chef de train came along and THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница told her that he was very sorry, but he could do nothing for her. She made a useless scene. When the official had gone, the man at her table addressed her. Though he spoke fluent, idiomatic French, she recognized by his accent that he was not a Frenchman. She told him in answer to his polite inquiry the whole story and gave him her opinion of the travel agency, the railway company, and the general inefficiency of the human race. He was very sympathetic. He told her that after dinner he would go along the train and see for himself THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница if something could not be arranged. One never knew what one of the conductors could not manage for a tip.

‘I’m simply tired out,’ she said. ‘I’d willingly give five hundred francs for a sleeper.’

The conversation thus started, he told her that he was an attach? at the Spanish Embassy in Paris and was going down to Cannes for Easter. Though she had been talking to him for a quarter of an hour she had not troubled to notice what he was like. She observed now that he had a beard, a black curly beard THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница and a black curly moustache, but the beard grew rather oddly on his face; there were two bare patches under the corners of his mouth. It gave him a curious look. With his black hair, drooping eyelids and rather long nose, he reminded her of someone she had seen. Suddenly she remembered, and it was such a surprise that she blurted out:

‘D’you know, I couldn’t think who you reminded me of. You’re strangely like Titian’s portrait of Francis I in the Louvre.’

‘With his little pig’s eyes?’

‘No, not them, yours are large THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница, I think it’s the beard chiefly.’

She glanced at the skin under his eyes; it was faintly violet and unwrinkled. Notwithstanding the ageing beard he was quite a young man; he could not have been more than thirty. She wondered if he was a Spanish Grandee. He was not very well dressed, but then foreigners often weren’t, his clothes might have cost a lot even if they were badly cut, and his tie, though rather loud, she recognized as a Charvet. When they came to the coffee he asked her whether he might offer her a liqueur THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница.

‘That’s very kind of you. Perhaps it’ll make me sleep better.’

He offered her a cigarette. His cigarette-case was silver, that put her off a little, but when he closed it she saw that in the corner was a small crown in gold. He must be a count or something. It was rather chic, having a silver cigarette-case with a gold crown on it. Pity he had to wear those modern clothes! If he’d been dressed like Francis I he would really look very distinguished. She set herself to be as gracious as THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница she knew how.

‘I think I should tell you,’ he said presently, ‘that I know who you are. And may I add that I have a great admiration for you?’

She gave him a lingering look of her splendid eyes.

‘You’ve seen me act?’

‘Yes, I was in London last month.’

‘An interesting little play, wasn’t it?’

‘Only because you made it so.’

When the man came round to collect the money she had to insist on paying her own bill. The Spaniard accompanied her to the carriage and then said he would go along the train to see THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница if he could find a sleeper for her. He came back in a quarter of an hour with a conductor and told her that he had got her a compartment and if she would give the conductor her things he would take her to it. She was delighted. He threw down his hat on the seat she vacated and she followed him along the corridor. When they reached the compartment he told the conductor to take the portmanteau and the dispatch-case that were in the rack to the carriage madame had just left.

‘But it THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница’s not your own compartment you’re giving up to me?’ cried Julia.

‘It’s the only one on the train.’

‘Oh, but I won’t hear of it.’

‘Allez,’ the Spaniard said to the conductor.

‘No, no.’

The conductor, on a nod from the stranger, took the luggage away.

‘I don’t matter. I can sleep anywhere, but I shouldn’t sleep a wink if I thought that such a great artist was obliged to spend the night in a stuffy carriage with three other people.’

Julia continued to protest, but not too much. It was terribly sweet of THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница him. She didn’t know how to thank him. He would not even let her pay for the sleeper. He begged her, almost with tears in his eyes, to let him have the great privilege of making her that trifling present. She had with her only a dressing-bag, in which were her face creams, her night-dress and her toilet things, and this he put on the table for her. All he asked was that he might be allowed to sit with her and smoke a cigarette or two till she wanted to go to bed. She THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница could hardly refuse him that. The bed was already made up and they sat down on it. In a few minutes the conductor came back with a bottle of champagne and a couple of glasses. It was an odd little adventure and Julia was enjoying it. It was wonderfully polite of him, all that, ah, those foreigners, they knew how to treat a great actress. Of course that was the sort of thing that happened to Bernhardt every day. And Siddons, when she went into a drawing-room everyone stood up as though she were royalty. He complimented her on her THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница beautiful French. Born in Jersey and educated in France? Ah, that explained it. But why hadn’t she chosen to act in French rather than in English? She would have as great a reputation as Duse if she had. She reminded him of Duse, the same magnificent eyes and the pale skin, and in her acting the same emotion and the wonderful naturalness.

They half finished the bottle of champagne and Julia realized that it was very late.

‘I really think I ought to go to bed now.’

‘I’ll leave you.’

He got up and kissed her hand. When THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница he was gone Julia bolted the door and undressed. Putting out all the lights except the one just behind her head she began to read. Presently there was a knock at the door.

‘Yes?’

‘I’m sorry to disturb you. I left my toothbrush in the lavabo. May I get it?’

‘I’m in bed.’

‘I can’t go to sleep unless I brush my teeth.’

‘Oh well, he’s clean anyway.’

With a little shrug of her shoulders Julia slipped her hand to the door and drew back the bolt. It would be stupid in the THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница circumstances to be prudish. He came in, went into the lavatory and in a moment came out, brandishing a toothbrush. She had noticed it when she brushed her own teeth, but thought it belonged to the person who had the compartment next door. At that period adjoining compartments shared a lavatory. The Spaniard seemed to catch sight of the bottle.

‘I’m so thirsty, do you mind if I have a glass of champagne?’

Julia was silent for a fraction of a second. It was his champagne and his compartment. Oh, well, in for a penny, in for THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница a pound.

‘Of course not.’

He poured himself out a glass, lit a cigarette and sat down on the edge of her bed. She moved a little to give him more room. He accepted the situation as perfectly natural.

‘You couldn’t possibly have slept in that carriage,’ he said. ‘There’s a man there who’s a heavy breather. I’d almost rather he snored. If he snored one could wake him.’

‘I’m so sorry.’

‘Oh, it doesn’t matter. If the worst comes to the worst I’ll curl up in the corridor outside your door.’

‘He can hardly THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница expect me to ask him to come and sleep in here,’ Julia said to herself. ‘I’m beginning to think this was all a put-up job. Nothing doing, my lad.’ And then aloud. ‘Romantic, of course, but uncomfortable.’

‘You’re a terribly attractive woman.’

She was just as glad that her nightdress was pretty and that she had put no cream on her face. She had in point of fact not troubled to take off her make-up. Her lips were brightly scarlet, and with the reading light behind her she well knew that she did THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница not look her worst. But she answered ironically.

‘If you think that because you’ve given up your compartment to me I’m going to let you sleep with me, you’re mistaken.’

‘Just as you say, of course. But why not?’

‘I’m not that sort of terribly attractive woman.’

‘What sort of woman are you then?’

‘A faithful wife and a devoted mother.’

He gave a little sigh.

‘Very well. Then I’ll say good night to you.’

He crushed the stub of his cigarette on the ashtray and took her hand and kissed it. He THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница slowly ran his lips up her arm. It gave Julia a funny little sensation. The beard slightly tickled her skin. Then he leant over and kissed her lips. His beard had a somewhat musty smell, which she found peculiar; she was not sure if it revolted or thrilled her. It was odd when she came to think of it, she had never been kissed by a man with a beard before. It seemed strangely indecent. He snapped out the light.

He did not leave her till a chink of light through the drawn blind warned them that day had THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница broken. Julia was shattered morally and physically.

‘I shall look a perfect wreck when we get to Cannes.’

And what a risk to take! He might have murdered her or stolen her pearl necklace. She went hot and cold all over as she pictured to herself the danger she had incurred. He was going to Cannes too. Supposing he claimed acquaintance with her there, how on earth was she going to explain him to her friends? She felt sure Dolly wouldn’t like him. He might try to blackmail her. And what should she do if he wanted to repeat THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница the experience? He was passionate, there was no doubt about that, he had asked her where she was staying, and though she had not told him, he could certainly find out if he tried; in a place like Cannes, it would be almost impossible not to run across him. He might pester her. If he loved her as much as he said it was inconceivable that he should let her alone, and foreigners were so unreliable, he might make frightful scenes. The only comfort was that he was only staying over Easter, she would pretend she was tired and tell THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница Dolly that she preferred to stay quietly at the villa.

‘How could I have been such a fool?’ she cried angrily.

Dolly would be there to meet her at the station, and if he was tactless enough to come up and say good-bye to her she would tell Dolly that he had given up his compartment to her. There was no harm in that. It was always best to tell as much of the truth as you could. But there was quite a crowd of passengers getting out at Cannes, and Julia got out of the THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница station and into Dolly’s car without catching a glimpse of him.

‘I’ve arranged nothing for today,’ said Dolly. ‘I thought you’d be tired and I wanted to have you all to myself just for twenty-four hours.’

Julia gave her arm an affectionate squeeze.

‘That’ll be too wonderful. We’ll just sit about the villa and grease our faces and have a good old gossip.’

But next day Dolly had arranged that they should go out to luncheon, and they were to meet their hosts at one of the bars on the Croisette to have cocktails. It was THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница a beautiful day, clear, warm and sunny. When they got out of the car Dolly stopped to give the chauffeur instructions about fetching them and Julia waited for her. Suddenly her heart gave a great jump, for there was the Spaniard walking towards her, with a woman on one side of him clinging to his arm and on the other a little girl whose hand he held. She had not time to turn away. At that moment Dolly joined her to walk across the pavement. The Spaniard came, gave her a glance in which there was no sign of THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница recognition, he was in animated conversation with the woman on his arm, and walked on. In a flash Julia understood that he was just as little anxious to see her as she was to see him. The woman and the child were obviously his wife and daughter whom he had come down to Cannes to spend Easter with. What a relief! Now she could enjoy herself without fear. But as she accompanied Dolly to the bar, Julia thought how disgusting men were. You simply couldn’t trust them for a minute. It was really disgraceful that a THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница man with a charming wife and such a sweet little girl should be willing to pick up a woman in the train. You would think they’d have some sense of decency.

But as time passed Julia’s indignation was mitigated, and she had often thought of the adventure since with a good deal of pleasure. After all it had been fun. Sometimes she allowed her reveries to run away with her and she went over in her fancy the incidents of that singular night. He had been a most agreeable lover. It would be something to look back THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница on when she was an old woman. It was the beard that had made such an impression on her, the odd feeling of it on her face and that slightly musty smell which was repulsive and yet strangely exciting. For years she looked out for men with beards, and she had a feeling that if one of them made proposals to her she simply wouldn’t be able to resist him. But few men wore beards any more, luckily for her because the sight made her go a little weak at the knees, and none of those that did ever THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница made any advance to her. She would have liked to know who the Spaniard was. She saw him a day or two later playing chemin de fer at the Casino and asked two or three people if they knew him. Nobody did, and he remained in her recollection, and in her bones, without a name. It was an odd coincidence that she didn’t know the name either of the young man who had that afternoon behaved in so unexpected a manner. It struck her as rather comic.

‘If I only knew beforehand that they were going to take liberties THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница with me I’d at least ask for their cards.’

With this thought she fell happily asleep.

SOME days passed, and one morning, while Julia was lying in bed reading a play, they rang through from the basement to ask if she would speak to Mr Fennell. The name meant nothing to her and she was about to refuse when it occurred to her that it might be the young man of her adventure. Her curiosity induced her to tell them to connect him. She recognized his voice.

‘You promised to ring me up,’ he said. ‘I got THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница tired of waiting, so I’ve rung you up instead.’

‘I’ve been terribly busy the last few days.’

‘When am I going to see you?’

‘As soon as I have a moment to spare.’

‘What about this afternoon?’

‘I’ve got a matin?e today.’

‘Come to tea after the matin?e.’

She smiled. (‘No, young feller-me-lad, you don’t catch me a second time like that.’)

‘I can’t possibly,’ she answered. ‘I always stay in my dressing-room and rest till the evening performance.’

‘Can’t I come and see you while you’re THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница resting?’

She hesitated for an instant. Perhaps the best thing would be to get him come; with Evie popping in and out and Miss Phillips due at seven, there would be no chance of any nonsense, and it would be a good opportunity to tell him, amiably, because he was really a sweet little thing, but firmly, that the incident of the other afternoon was to have no sequel. With a few well-chosen words she would explain to him that it was quite unreasonable and that he must oblige her by erasing the episode from his memory.

‘All right THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница. Come at half-past five and I’ll give you a cup of tea.’

There was no part of her busy life that she enjoyed more than those three hours that she spent in her dressing-room between the afternoon and the evening performances. The other members of the cast had gone away; and Evie was there to attend to her wants and the doorkeeper to guard her privacy. Her dressing-room was like the cabin of a ship. The world seemed a long way off, and she relished her seclusion. She felt an enchanting freedom THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница. She dozed a little, she read a little, or lying on the comfortable sofa she let her thoughts wander. She reflected on the part she was playing and the favourite parts she had played in the past. She thought of Roger her son. Pleasant reveries sauntered through her mind like lovers wandering in a green wood. She was fond of French poetry, and sometimes she repeated to herself verses of Verlaine.

Punctually at half-past five Evie brought her in a card. ‘Mr Thomas Fennell’, she read.

‘Send him in and bring some tea.’

She had decided how she was going THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница to treat him. She would be amiable, but distant. She would take a friendly interest in his work and ask him about his examination. Then she would talk to him about Roger. Roger was seventeen now and in a year would be going to Cambridge. She would insinuate the fact that she was old enough to be his mother. She would act as if there had never been anything between them and he would go away, never to see her again except across the footlights, half convinced that the whole thing had been a figment of his THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница fancy. But when she saw him, so slight, with his hectic flush and his blue eyes, so charmingly boyish, she felt a sudden pang. Evie closed the door behind him. She was lying on the sofa and she stretched out her arm to give him her hand, the gracious smile of Madame R?camier on her lips, but he flung himself on his knees and passionately kissed her mouth. She could not help herself, she put her arms round his neck, and kissed him as passionately.

(‘Oh, my good resolutions. My God, I can’t have fallen in love THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница with him.’)

‘For goodness’ sake, sit down. Evie’s coming in with the tea.’

‘Tell her not to disturb us.’

‘What do you mean?’ But what he meant was obvious. Her heart began to beat quickly. ‘It’s ridiculous. I can’t. Michael might come in.’

‘I want you.’

‘What d’you suppose Evie would think? It’d be idiotic to take such a risk. No, no, no.’

There was a knock at the door and Evie came in with the tea. Julia gave her instructions to put the table by the side of her sofa and a chair for THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница the young man on the other side of the table. She kept Evie with unnecessary conversation. She felt him looking at her. His eyes moved quickly, following her gestures and the expression of her face; she avoided them, but she felt their anxiety and the eagerness of his desire. She was troubled. It seemed to her that her voice did not sound quite natural.

(‘What the devil’s the matter with me? God, I can hardly breathe.’)

When Evie reached the door the boy made a gesture that was so instinctive that her sensitiveness rather than her sight caught THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница it. She could not but look at him. His face had gone quite pale.

‘Oh, Evie,’ she said. ‘This gentleman wants to talk to me about a play. See that no one disturbs me. I’ll ring when I want you.’

‘Very good, miss.’

Evie went out and closed the door.

(‘I’m a fool. I’m a bloody fool.’)

But he had moved the table, and he was on his knees, and she was in his arms.

She sent him away a little before Miss Phillips was due, and when he was gone rang for Evie.

‘Play THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница any good?’ asked Evie.

‘What play?’

‘The play ’e was talkin’to you abaht.’

‘He’s clever. Of course he’s young.’

Evie was looking down at the dressing-table. Julia liked everything always to be in the same place, and if a pot of grease or her eyeblack was not exactly where it should be made a scene.

‘Where’s your comb?’

He had used it to comb his hair and had carelessly placed it on the tea-table. When Evie caught sight of it she stared at it for a moment reflectively.

‘How on earth did it get there?’ cried THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница Julia lightly.

‘I was just wondering.’

It gave Julia a nasty turn. Of course it was madness to do that sort of thing in the dressing-room. Why, there wasn’t even a key in the lock. Evie kept it. All the same the risk had given it a spice. It was fun to think that she could be so crazy. At all events they’d made a date now. Tom, she’d asked him what they called him at home and he said Thomas, she really couldn’t call him that, Tom wanted to take THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница her to supper somewhere so that they could dance, and it happened that Michael was going up to Cambridge for a night to rehearse a series of one-act plays written by undergraduates. They would be able to spend hours together.

‘You can get back with the milk,’ he’d said.

‘And what about my performance next day?’

‘We can’t bother about that.’

She had refused to let him fetch her at the theatre, and when she got to the restaurant they had chosen he was waiting for her in the lobby. His face lit up as he THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница saw her.

‘It was getting so late, I was afraid you weren’t coming.’

‘I’m sorry, some tiresome people came round after the play and I couldn’t get rid of them.’

But it wasn’t true. She had been as excited all the evening as a girl going to her first ball. She could not help thinking how absurd she was. But when she had taken off her theatrical make-up and made up again for supper she could not satisfy herself. She put blue on her eyelids and took it off again, she rouged her cheeks, rubbed them THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница clean and tried another colour.

‘What are you trying to do?’ said Evie.

‘I’m trying to look twenty, you fool.’

‘If you try much longer you’ll look your age.’

She had never seen him in evening clothes before. He shone like a new pin. Though he was of no more than average height his slimness made him look tall. She was a trifle touched to see that for all his airs of the man of the world he was shy with the head waiter when it came to ordering supper. They danced and he did not THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница dance very well, but she found his slight awkwardness rather charming. People recognized her, and she was conscious that he enjoyed the reflected glory of their glances.

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Документ THE door opened and Michael Gosselyn looked up. Julia came in. 6 страница