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Alexander's Bridge

Alexander went over and opened the window for her. "Aren't you afraid to let the
wind low like that on your neck? Can't I get a scarf or something?"
"Ask a theatre lady if she's afraid of drafts!" Hilda laughed. "But perhaps, as I'm
so warm-- give me your handkerchief. There, just in front." He slipped the corners
carefully under her shoulder-straps. "There, that will do. It looks like a bib." She
pushed his hand away quickly and stood looking out into the deserted square.
"Isn't London a tomb on Sunday night?"
Alexander caught the agitation in her voice. He stood a little behind her, and tried
to steady himself as he said: "It's soft and misty. See how white the stars are."
For a long time neither Hilda nor Bartley spoke. They stood close together,
looking out into the wan, watery sky, breathing always more quickly and lightly,
and it seemed as if all the clocks in the world had stopped. Suddenly he moved
the clenched hand he held behind him and dropped it violently at his side. He felt
a tremor run through the slender yellow figure in front of him.
She caught his handkerchief from her throat and thrust it at him without turning
round. "Here, take it. You must go now, Bartley. Good-night."
Bartley leaned over her shoulder, without touching her, and whispered in her ear:
"You are giving me a chance?"
"Yes. Take it and go. This isn't fair, you know. Good-night."
Alexander unclenched the two hands at his sides. With one he threw down the
window and with the other--still standing behind her--he drew her back against
him.
She uttered a little cry, threw her arms over her head, and drew his face down to
hers. "Are you going to let me love you a little, Bartley?" she whispered.
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