Athalie (Chapter 6, page 1 of 14)


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Chapter 6

A rather tall man stepped in. He wore a snow-dusted, fur-lined
overcoat and carried in his white-gloved hands a top hat and a
silver-hooked walking stick.

He had made a mistake, of course; and Athalie hastily lowered her feet
and turned half around in her chair again to meet his expected
apologies; and then continued in that attitude, rigid and silent.

"Miss Greensleeve?" he asked.

She rose, mechanically, the heavy lustrous braids framing a face as
white as a flower.

"Is that you, Athalie!" he asked, hesitating.

"C. Bailey, Junior," she said under her breath.

There was a moment's pause, then he stepped toward her and, very
slowly, she offered a hand still faintly fragrant with "cream of
lilacs."

A damp, chilly wind came from the corridor; she went over and closed
the door, stood for a few seconds with her back against it looking at
him.

Now under the mask of manhood she could see the boy she had once
known,--under the short dark moustache the clean-cut mouth unchanged.
Only his cheeks seemed firmer and leaner, and the eyes were now the
baffling eyes of a man.

"How did you know I was here?" she asked, quite unconscious of her
own somewhat intimate attire, so entirely had the shock of surprise
possessed her.

"Athalie, you have not changed a bit--only you are so much prettier
than I realised," he said illogically.... "How did I know you lived
here? I didn't until we bought this row of flats last week--my
father's company--I'm in it now.... And glancing over the list of
tenants I saw your name."

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