fearfully, yet nothing definite was promised or arranged! But the more uncertain and hazardous the future, the more 'the will to have' worked its tentacles into the flesh of her heart--like some burrowing tick!
No one was at Green Street. Winifred had gone with Imogen to see a play which some said was allegorical, and others 'very exciting, don't you know.' It was because of what others said that Winifred and Imogen had gone. Fleur went on to Paddington. Through the carriage the air from the brick-kilns of West Drayton and the late hay-fields fanned her still flushed cheeks. Flowers had seemed to be had for the picking; now they were all thorned and prickled. But the golden flower within the crown of spikes seemed to her tenacious spirit all the fairer and more desirable.
THE FAT IN THE FIRE
ON reaching home Fleur found an atmosphere so peculiar that it penetrated even the perplexed aura of her own private life. Her mother was inaccessibly entrenched in a brown study; her father contemplating fate in the vinery. Neither of them had a word to throw to a dog. 'Is it because of me?' thought Fleur. 'Or because of Profond?' To her mother she said:
'What's the matter with Father?'
Her mother answered with a shrug of her shoulders.
To her father:
'What's the matter with Mother?'
Her father answered:
'Matter? What should be the matter?' and gave her a sharp look.
'By the way,' murmured Fleur, 'Monsieur Profond is going a "small" voyage on his yacht, to the South Seas.'
Soames examined a branch on which no grapes were growing.
'This vine's a failure,' he said. 'I've had young Mont here. He asked me something about you.'
'Oh! How do you like him, Father?'
'He--he's a product--like all these young people.'