The Breaking Point (Chapter 9, page 1 of 5)


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Chapter 9

Elizabeth had gone about all day with a smile on her lips and a sort of
exaltation in her eyes. She had, girl fashion, gone over and over the
totally uneventful evening they had spent together, remembering small
speeches and gestures; what he had said and she had answered.

She had, for instance, mentioned Clare Rossiter, very casually. Oh
very, very casually. And he had said: "Clare Rossiter? Oh, yes, the tall
blonde girl, isn't she?"

She was very happy. He had not seemed to find her too young or
particularly immature. He had asked her opinion on quite important
things, and listened carefully when she replied. She felt, though, that
she knew about one-tenth as much as he did, and she determined to
read very seriously from that time on. Her mother, missing her that
afternoon, found her curled up in the library, beginning the first
volume of Gibbon's "Rome" with an air of determined concentration, and
wearing her best summer frock.

She did not intend to depend purely on Gibbon's "Rome," evidently.

"Are you expecting any one, Elizabeth?" she asked, with the frank
directness characteristic of mothers, and Elizabeth, fixing a date in
her mind with terrible firmness, looked up absently and said: "No one in particular."

At three o'clock, with a slight headache from concentration, she went
upstairs and put up her hair again; rather high this time to make her
feel taller. Of course, it was not likely he would come. He was very
busy. So many people depended on him. It must be wonderful to be like
that, to have people needing one, and looking out of the door and
saying: "I think I see him coming now."

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