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Blix

Chapter XIII
A week passed; then another. The year was coming to a close. In ten days Blix would
be gone. Letters had been received from Aunt Kihm, and also an exquisite black leather
traveling-case, a present to her niece, full of cut-glass bottles, ebony-backed brushes,
and shell combs. Blix was to leave on the second day of January. In the meanwhile she
had been reading far into her first-year text-books, underscoring and annotating,
studying for hours upon such subjects as she did not understand, so that she might get
hold of her work the readier when it came to class-room routine and lectures. Hers was
a temperament admirably suited to the study she had chosen--self-reliant, cool, and
robust.
But it was not easy for her to go. Never before had Blix been away from her home;
never for longer than a week had she been separated from her father, nor from Howard
and Snooky. That huge city upon the Atlantic seaboard, with its vast, fierce life, where
beat the heart of the nation, and where beyond Aunt Kihm she knew no friend, filled Blix
with a vague sense of terror and of oppression. She was going out into a new life, a life
of work and of study, a harsher life than she had yet known. Her father, her friends, her
home--all these were to be left behind. It was not surprising that Blix should be daunted
at the prospect of so great a change in her life, now so close at hand. But if the tears did
start at times, no one ever saw them fall, and with a courage that was all her own Blix
watched the last days of the year trooping past and the approach of the New Year that
was to begin the new life.
But Condy was thoroughly unhappy. Those wonderful three months were at an end. Blix
was going. In less than a week now she would be gone. He would see the last of her.
Then what? He pictured himself--when he had said good-by to her and the train had
lessened to a smoky blur in the distance--facing about, facing the life that must then
begin for him, returning to the city alone, picking up the routine again. There would be
nothing to look forward to then; he would not see Blix in the afternoon; would not sit with
her in the evening in the little dining-room of the flat overlooking the city and the bay;
would not wake in the morning with the consciousness that before the sun would set he
would see her again, be with her, and hear the sound of her voice. The months that
were to follow would be one long ache, one long, harsh, colorless grind without her.
How was he to get through that first evening that he must pass alone? And she did not
care for him. Condy at last knew this to be so. Even the poor solace of knowing that
she, too, was unhappy was denied him. She had never loved him, and never would. He
was a chum to her, nothing more. Condy was too clear-headed to deceive himself upon
this point. The time was come for her to go away, and she had given him no sign, no
cue.
The last days passed; Blix's trunk was packed, her half section engaged, her ticket
bought. They said good-by to the old places they had come to know so well--Chinatown,
the Golden Balcony, the water-front, the lake of San Andreas, Telegraph Hill, and
Luna's-- and had bade farewell to Riccardo and to old Richardson. They had left K. D.
 
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