The Place of Honeymoons (Chapter 2, page 1 of 9)


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Chapter 2

Anger, curiosity, interest; these sensations blanketed one another
quickly, leaving only interest, which was Courtlandt's normal state of
mind when he saw a pretty woman. It did not require very keen scrutiny on
his part to arrive swiftly at the conclusion that this one was not quite
in the picture. Her cheeks were not red with that redness which has a
permanency of tone, neither waxing nor waning, abashed in daylight. Nor
had her lips found their scarlet moisture from out the depths of certain
little porcelain boxes. Decidedly she was out of place here, yet she
evinced no embarrassment; she was cool, at ease. Courtlandt's interest
strengthened.

"Why do you think I am lonely, Mademoiselle?" he asked, without smiling.

"Oh, when one talks to one's self, strikes the table, wastes good wine,
the inference is but natural. So, Monsieur is lonely."

Her lips and eyes, as grave and smileless as his own, puzzled him. An
adventure? He looked at some of the other women. Those he could
understand, but this one, no. At all times he was willing to smile, yet to
draw her out he realized that he must preserve his gravity unbroken. The
situation was not usual. His gaze came back to her.

"Is the comparison favorable to me?" she asked.

"It is. What is loneliness?" he demanded cynically.

"Ah, I could tell you," she answered. "It is the longing to be with the
one we love; it is the hate of the wicked things we have done; it is
remorse."

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