PART III

CHAPTER I
BANK HOLIDAY

WHITSUNTIDE Bank Holiday was producing its seasonal invasion of Hampstead Heath, and among the ascending swarm were two who meant to make money in the morning and spend it in the afternoon.

Tony Bicket, with balloons and wife, embarked early on the Hampstead Tube.

"You'll see," he said, "I'll sell the bloomin' lot by twelve o'clock, and we'll go on the bust."

Squeezing his arm, Victorine fingered, through her dress, a slight swelling just above her right knee. It was caused by fifty- four pounds fastened in the top of her stocking. She had little feeling, now, against balloons. They afforded temporary nourishment, till she had the few more pounds needful for their passage- money. Tony still believed he was going to screw salvation out of his blessed balloons: he was 'that hopeful--Tony,' though their heads were only just above water on his takings. And she smiled. With her secret she could afford to be indifferent now to the stigma of gutter hawking. She had her story pat. From the evening paper, and from communion on 'buses with those interested in the national pastime, she had acquired the necessary information about racing. She even talked of it with Tony, who had street-corner knowledge. Already she had prepared chapter and verse of two imaginary coups; a sovereign made out of stitching imaginary blouses, invested on the winner of the Two Thousand Guineas, and the result on the dead-heater for the Jubilee at nice odds; this with a third winner, still to be selected, would bring her imaginary winnings up to the needed sixty pounds odd she would so soon have saved now out of 'the altogether.' This tale she would pitch to Tony in a week or two, reeling off by heart the wonderful luck she had kept from him until she had the whole of the money. She would slip her forehead against his eyes if he looked at her too hard, and kiss his lips till his head was no longer clear. And

-167-

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A Modern Comedy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • Book I - The White Monkey 1
  • Part I 3
  • Part II 86
  • Chapter II - Victorine 97
  • Part III 167
  • Interlude - A Silent Wooing 250
  • Book II - The Silver Spoon 265
  • Part I 267
  • Part II 347
  • Part III 426
  • Book III - Swan Song 521
  • Part I 523
  • Part II 605
  • Chapter VII - Two Visits 653
  • Part III 699
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