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Alexander's Bridge

"But they came only this morning, and they have not even begun to open. I was
saving them. I am so unconsciously thrifty!" She laughed as she looked about the
room. "You've been sending me far too many flowers, Bartley. New ones every
day. That's too often; though I do love to open the boxes, and I take good care of
them."
"Why won't you let me send you any of those jade or ivory things you are so fond
of? Or pictures? I know a good deal about pictures."
Hilda shook her large hat as she drew the roses out of the tall glass. "No, there
are some things you can't do. There's the carriage. Will you button my gloves for
me?"
Bartley took her wrist and began to button the long gray suede glove. "How gay
your eyes are this morning, Hilda."
"That's because I've been studying. It always stirs me up a little."
He pushed the top of the glove up slowly. "When did you learn to take hold of
your parts like that?"
"When I had nothing else to think of. Come, the carriage is waiting. What a
shocking while you take."
"I'm in no hurry. We've plenty of time."
They found all London abroad. Piccadilly was a stream of rapidly moving
carriages, from which flashed furs and flowers and bright winter costumes. The
metal trappings of the harnesses shone dazzlingly, and the wheels were
revolving disks that threw off rays of light. The parks were full of children and
nursemaids and joyful dogs that leaped and yelped and scratched up the brown
earth with their paws.
"I'm not going until to-morrow, you know," Bartley announced suddenly. "I'll cut
off a day in Liverpool. I haven't felt so jolly this long while."
Hilda looked up with a smile which she tried not to make too glad. "I think people
were meant to be happy, a little," she said.
They had lunch at Richmond and then walked to Twickenham, where they had
sent the carriage. They drove back, with a glorious sunset behind them, toward
the distant gold-washed city. It was one of those rare afternoons when all the
thickness and shadow of London are changed to a kind of shining, pulsing,
special atmosphere; when the smoky vapors become fluttering golden clouds,
nacreous veils of pink and amber; when all that bleakness of gray stone and
dullness of dirty brick trembles in aureate light, and all the roofs and spires, and
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