Alexander's Bridge HTML version

Chapter 7
During the fortnight that Alexander was in London he drove himself hard. He got
through a great deal of personal business and saw a great many men who were
doing interesting things in his own profession. He disliked to think of his visits to
London as holidays, and when he was there he worked even harder than he did
at home.
The day before his departure for Liverpool was a singularly fine one. The thick air
had cleared overnight in a strong wind which brought in a golden dawn and then
fell off to a fresh breeze. When Bartley looked out of his windows from the Savoy,
the river was flashing silver and the gray stone along the Embankment was
bathed in bright, clear sunshine. London had wakened to life after three weeks of
cold and sodden rain. Bartley breakfasted hurriedly and went over his mail while
the hotel valet packed his trunks. Then he paid his account and walked rapidly
down the Strand past Charing Cross Station. His spirits rose with every step, and
when he reached Trafalgar Square, blazing in the sun, with its fountains playing
and its column reaching up into the bright air, he signaled to a hansom, and,
before he knew what he was about, told the driver to go to Bedford Square by
way of the British Museum.
When he reached Hilda's apartment she met him, fresh as the morning itself. Her
rooms were flooded with sunshine and full of the flowers he had been sending
her. She would never let him give her anything else.
"Are you busy this morning, Hilda?" he asked as he sat down, his hat and gloves
in his hand.
"Very. I've been up and about three hours, working at my part. We open in
February, you know."
"Well, then you've worked enough. And so have I. I've seen all my men, my
packing is done, and I go up to Liverpool this evening. But this morning we are
going to have a holiday. What do you say to a drive out to Kew and Richmond?
You may not get another day like this all winter. It's like a fine April day at home.
May I use your telephone? I want to order the carriage."
"Oh, how jolly! There, sit down at the desk. And while you are telephoning I'll
change my dress. I shan't be long. All the morning papers are on the table."
Hilda was back in a few moments wearing a long gray squirrel coat and a broad
fur hat.
Bartley rose and inspected her. "Why don't you wear some of those pink roses?"
he asked.