The Womans Way (Chapter 2, page 1 of 8)


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Chapter 2

The colour rose to the young man's pallid face; he leant back and, with
narrowed eyes, regarded her, for the first time, with curiosity and
interest. It may be said that, up to that moment, he had not realized
her personality; she was just a something, a nuisance in the shape of a
girl, which had come between him and a shameful death. Of course, he had
seen Celia in the corridor now and again, had noticed vaguely that his
opposite neighbour was young and graceful and pretty--no man, especially
one of his age, could fail to notice such palpable facts--but he had
been too absorbed in his own affairs to take any interest in her. Now,
surprised by her courage, he regarded her curiously, and he saw that she
was not only pretty, but quite beautiful. He took in the clear oval of
her face, the soft waves of dark hair which garlanded the low forehead,
puckered now by lines of decision, the blue-grey eyes almost violet in
the intensity of her gaze, the lips which, he felt, could smile with
infinite tenderness, though now set tightly.

Yes; this young woman who had come at the sound of his groan of despair,
who now sat opposite him, gripping the revolver which she had forced
from his hand, was very beautiful, and, obviously, very brave; he saw,
too, that she was a lady, that she was different from most of the girls
who lived in the Buildings. In that flash of scrutiny, he took in even
the details of her dress, and knew that, plain as it was, it had come
from a good house, probably from Paris itself; there were no cheap rings
on the well-formed, but not too small, hands; he realized that he was
confronting the embodiment of the three qualities most desirable--youth,
beauty, strength; and he was conscious of a reluctant thrill of
admiration. His eyes sank, and, involuntarily, he sighed. For he was
thinking of another woman.

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