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The After House

25. The Sea Again
0nce more the swish of spray against the side of a ship, the tang of salt, the lift
and fall of the rail against the sea-line on the horizon. And once more a girl, in
white from neck to heel, facing into the wind as if she loved it, her crisp skirts
flying, her hair blown back from her forehead in damp curls.
And I am not washing down the deck. With all the poise of white flannels and a
good cigar, I am lounging in a deck-chair, watching her. Then -
" Come here!" I say.
" I am busy."
"You are not busy. You are disgracefully idle."
"Why do you want me?"
She comes closer, and looks down at me. She likes me to sit, so she may look
superior and scornful, this being impossible when one looks up. When she has
approached -
"just to show that I can order you about."
"I shall go back!" - with raised chin. How I remember that raised chin, and how
(whisper it) I used to fear it!
"You cannot. I am holding the edge of your skirt."
"Ralph! And all the other passengers looking!"
"Then sit down - and, before you do, tuck that rug under my feet, will you?"
"Certainly not."
"Under my feet!"
 
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