作者：Jack London 杰克·伦敦
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Many patterns of carpet lay rolled out before them on the floor—two of Brussels showed the beginning of their quest, and its ending in that direction; while a score of ingrains lured their eyes and prolonged the debate between desire pocket-book. The head of the department did them the honor of waiting upon them himself—or did Joe the honor, as she well knew, for she had noted the open-mouthed awe of the elevator boy who brought them up. Nor had she been blind to the marked respect shown Joe by the urchins and groups of young fellows on corners, when she walked with him in their own neighborhood down at the west end of the town.
But the head of the department was called away to the telephone, and in her mind the splendid promise of the carpets and the irk of the pocket-book were thrust aside by a greater doubt and anxiety.
"But I don't see what you find to like in it, Joe," she said softly, the note of insistence in her words betraying recent and unsatisfactory discussion.“乔，可我真不明白你喜欢拳击哪一点。”她虽说得温柔，语气却是坚决的，话语中透露出最近他们之间的一些令人不愉快的交谈。
For a fleeting moment a shadow darkened his boyish face, to be replaced by the glow of tenderness. He was only a boy, as she was only a girl—two young things on the threshold of life, house-renting and buying carpets together.
"What's the good of worrying?" he questioned. "It's the last go, the very last."“担心有什么用呢？”他问道，“这是最后一场比赛，真的是最后一场。”
He smiled at her, but she saw on his lips the unconscious and all but breathed sigh of renunciation, and with the instinctive monopoly of woman for her mate, she feared this thing she did not understand and which gripped his life so strongly.
"You know the go with O'Neil cleared the last payment on mother's house," he went on. "And that's off my mind.Now this last with Ponta will give me a hundred dollars in bank—an even hundred, that's the purse—for you and me to start on, a nest-egg."“你知道的，和奥尼尔比的那场还清了妈妈房子的最后一笔贷款，”他继续说，“所以我已经不担心那件事了。现在再和庞塔比赛最后一场，我在银行就能存一百美元——整整一百美元，而这笔奖金——是我和你开始新生活的本钱。”
She disregarded the money appeal. "But you like it, this—this 'game' you call it. Why?"
He lacked speech-expression. He expressed himself with his hands, at his work, and with his body and the play of his muscles in the squared ring; but to tell with his own lips the charm of the squared ring was beyond him. Yet he essayed, and haltingly at first, to express what he felt and analyzed when playing the Game at the supreme summit of existence.
"All I know, Genevieve, is that you feel good in the ring when you've got the man where you want him, when he's had a punch up both sleeves waiting for you and you've never given him an opening to land 'em, when you've landed your own little punch an' he's goin' groggy, an' holdin' on, an' the referee's dragging him off so's you can go in an' finish 'm, an' all the house is shouting an' tearin' itself loose, an' you know you're the best man, an' that you played m' fair an' won out because you're the best man. I tell you—”“我只知道，吉纳维芙，当你在拳台上正中对手要害时，当对手准备好两只拳头等着你，而你根本没给他沾到自己的机会时，当你自己的小拳头落到对手身上，他只能东倒西歪地勉强支撑，裁判把他拉走，比赛结束时，那一刻你在拳击场上感觉很好。所有观众都在叫喊着、沸腾着，你知道自己是最棒的，你一点儿诈也不使还能赢得最后的胜利，因为你是最棒的。我跟你说——”
He ceased brokenly, alarmed by his own volubility and by Genevieve's look of alarm. As he talked she had watched his face while fear dawned in her own. As he described the moment of moments to her, on his inward vision were lined the tottering man, the lights, the shouting house, and he swept out and away from her on this tide of life that was beyond her comprehension, menacing, irresistible, making her love pitiful and weak. The Joe she knew receded, faded, became lost. The fresh boyish face was gone, the tenderness of the eyes, the sweetness of the mouth with its curves and pictured corners. It was a man's face she saw, a face of steel, tense and immobile; a mouth of steel, the lips like the jaws of a trap; eyes of steel, dilated, intent, and the light in them and the glitter were the light and glitter of steel. The face of a man, and she had known only his boy face. This face she did not know at all.
And yet, while it frightened her, she was vaguely stirred with pride in him. His masculinity, the masculinity of the fighting male, made its inevitable appeal to her, a female, moulded by all her heredity to seek out the strong man for mate, and to lean against the wall of his strength. She did not understand this force of his being that rose mightier than her love and laid its compulsion upon him; and yet, in her woman's heart she was aware of the sweet pang which told her that for her sake, for Love's own sake, he had surrendered to her, abandoned all that portion of his life, and with this one last fight would never fight again.
"Mrs. Silverstein doesn't like prize-fighting," she said. "She's down on it, and she knows something, too."“西尔弗斯坦夫人可不喜欢职业拳击，”她说，“她反感拳击，但也懂一点儿。”
He smiled indulgently, concealing a hurt, not altogether new, at her persistent inappreciation of this side of his nature and life in which he took the greatest pride. It was to him power and achievement, earned by his own effort and hard work; and in the moment when he had offered himself and all that he was to Genevieve, it was this, and this alone, that he was proudly conscious of laying at her feet. It was the merit of work performed, a guerdon of manhood finer and greater than any other man could offer, and it had been to him his justification and right to possess her. And she had not understood it then, as she did not understand it now, and he might well have wondered what else she found in him to make him worthy.
"Mrs. Silverstein is a dub, and a softy, and a knocker," he said good-humoredly. "What's she know about such things, anyway? I tell you it is good, and healthy, too,”—this last as an afterthought.“西尔弗斯坦夫人是个傻瓜，是个多愁善感又吹毛求疵的笨蛋，”他好脾气地说道，“再怎么说，她对这种事又知道什么呢？我跟你说，拳击是好的，也健康，”——这个词他最后才补充上。
"Look at me. I tell you I have to live clean to be in condition like this.I live cleaner than she does, or her old man, or anybody you know—baths, rub-downs, exercise, regular hours, good food and no makin' a pig of myself, no drinking, no smoking, nothing that'll hurt me. Why, I live cleaner than you, Genevieve—”“看着我。我想告诉你，要在这种环境中立足，我必须活得干干净净。我活得比她、比她父亲都干净，比你知道的任何人都干净——泡澡、按摩、锻炼、作息规律、吃优质的食物、不大吃大喝、不喝酒、不抽烟、不做任何伤害自己身体的事。咦，我甚至比你活得还要干净，吉纳维芙——”
"Honest, I do," he hastened to add at sight of her shocked face. "I don't mean water an' soap, but look there."His hand closed reverently but firmly on her arm. "Soft, you're all soft, all over. Not like mine. Here, feel this."“真的，我活得比你还干净，”看到她震惊的面孔，他赶紧又加了一句，“我不是指用水和肥皂，但你看这儿，”他把手虔诚地、坚定地放在她的手臂上。“柔软，你整个都是柔软的，整个都是。跟我不一样。来，你摸一下。”
He pressed the ends of her fingers into his hard arm-muscles until she winced from the hurt.
"Hard all over just like that," he went on. "Now that's what I call clean. Every bit of flesh an' blood an' muscle is clean right down to the bones—and they're clean, too. No soap and water only on the skin, but clean all the way in. I tell you it feels clean. It knows it's clean itself. When I wake up in the morning an' go to work, every drop of blood and bit of meat is shouting right out that it is clean. Oh, I tell you—”“我全身都是如此硬朗，”他继续说，“这就是我说的干净。每一点儿血肉、每一块儿肌肉都干净到骨头里——而且这些骨头也是干净的。水和肥皂只能洗干净皮肤，却不能让人干净到骨头里。告诉你，我的身体摸起来是干净的。它也知道自己本身就是干净的。每天早晨起床去上班，我的每滴血、每块肉都在大声呼喊它们是干净的。哎，我告诉你——”
He paused with swift awkwardness, again confounded by his unwonted flow of speech. Never in his life had he been stirred to such utterance, and never in his life had there been cause to be so stirred. For it was the Game that had been questioned, its verity and worth, the Game itself, the biggest thing in the world—or what had been the biggest thing in the world until that chance afternoon and that chance purchase in Silverstein's candy store, when Genevieve loomed suddenly colossal in his life, overshadowing all other things. He was beginning to see, though vaguely, the sharp conflict between woman and career, between a man's work in the world and woman's need of the man. But he was not capable of generalization. He saw only the antagonism between the concrete, flesh-and-blood Genevieve and the great, abstract, living Game. Each resented the other, each claimed him; he was torn with the strife, and yet drifted helpless on the currents of their contention.
His words had drawn Genevieve's gaze to his face, and she had pleasured in the clear skin, the clear eyes, the cheek soft and smooth as a girl's. She saw the force of his argument and disliked it accordingly. She revolted instinctively against this Game which drew him away from her, robbed her of part of him. It was a rival she did not understand. Nor could she understand its seductions. Had it been a woman rival, another girl, knowledge and light and sight would have been hers. As it was, she grappled in the dark with an intangible adversary about which she knew nothing. What truth she felt in his speech made the Game but the more formidable.
A sudden conception of her weakness came to her. She felt pity for herself, and sorrow. She wanted him, all of him, her woman's need would not be satisfied with less; and he eluded her, slipped away here and there from the embrace with which she tried to clasp him. Tears swam into her eyes, and her lips trembled, turning defeat into victory, routing the all-potent Game with the strength of her weakness.
"Don't, Genevieve, don't," the boy pleaded, all contrition, though he was confused and dazed. To his masculine mind there was nothing relevant about her break-down; yet all else was forgotten at sight of her tears.“别哭，吉纳维芙，别哭。”男孩满心忏悔地乞求着。虽然他困惑不已，茫然无措。对于他的男性思维来说，她的崩溃和他没什么关系；但是一看到她流泪，这些便通通被抛到了九霄云外了。
She smiled forgiveness through her wet eyes, and though he knew of nothing for which to be forgiven, he melted utterly. His hand went out impulsively to hers, but she avoided the clasp by a sort of bodily stiffening and chill, the while the eyes smiled still more gloriously.
"Here comes Mr. Clausen," she said, at the same time, by some transforming alchemy of woman, presenting to the newcomer eyes that showed no hint of moistness.“克劳森先生来了。”她说道。同时用一种女人特有的说变就变的戏法，将目光投向来者，再看不出一点泪水的痕迹。
"Think I was never coming back, Joe?" queried the head of the department, a pink-and-white-faced man, whose austere side-whiskers were belied by genial little eyes.“以为我再也不会回来了吧，乔？”这个面色粉白的部门经理问道。他友好的小眼睛和那一丝不苟的鬓角形成了反差。
"Now let me see—hum, yes, we was discussing ingrains," he continued briskly. "That tasty little pattern there catches your eye, don't it now, eh? Yes, yes, I know all about it. I set up housekeeping when I was getting fourteen a week. But nothing's too good for the little nest, eh? Of course I know, and it's only seven cents more, and the dearest is the cheapest, I say. Tell you what I'll do, Joe,”—this with a burst of philanthropic impulsiveness and a confidential lowering of voice,—"seein's it's you, and I wouldn't do it for anybody else, I'll reduce it to five cents. Only,”—here his voice became impressively solemn,—"only you mustn't ever tell how much you really did pay."“让我想想——哼，对了，我们在讨论染色地毯来着，”他很快接着说，“你看上了那个高雅的小图样，是不是，嗯？嗯，嗯，我什么都知道。我开始做家政时，一周才赚十四块钱。但是你的小爱巢配什么好东西都不过分，对吧？我当然知道。这只贵七分钱，要我说，关系越好我出价越低。告诉你我打算怎么做吧，乔，”——他带着一股要做慈善的冲动，秘密地压低了声音——“这是看在你的面子上，我降到五分吧，别人可没这待遇。只要，”——这时他的声音变得尤其严肃起来，给人印象深刻——“只要你绝不告诉别人你到底付多少。”
"Sewed, lined, and laid—of course that's included," he said, after Joe and Genevieve had conferred together and announced their decision.“缝纫、上线、安置——这些当然都包含在价钱里了。”在乔和吉纳维芙一起商量一下，宣布了他们的决定之后，他说道。
"And the little nest, eh?" he queried. "When do you spread your wings and fly away?To-morrow!So soon?Beautiful!Beautiful!"“小爱巢，嗯？”他问道，“你们打算什么时候展开翅膀飞进去呢？明天！这么快？太棒了！太棒了！”
He rolled his eyes ecstatically for a moment, then beamed upon them with a fatherly air.
Joe had replied sturdily enough, and Genevieve had blushed prettily; but both felt that it was not exactly proper. Not alone because of the privacy and holiness of the subject, but because of what might have been prudery in the middle class, but which in them was the modesty and reticence found in individuals of the working class when they strive after clean living and morality.
Mr. Clausen accompanied them to the elevator, all smiles, patronage, and beneficence, while the clerks turned their heads to follow Joe's retreating figure.
"And to-night, Joe?"Mr. Clausen asked anxiously, as they waited at the shaft."How do you feel?Think you'll do him?"“今天晚上怎么样，乔？”等电梯的时候，克劳森先生不安地问道，“你感觉怎么样？觉得能打败他吗？”
"Sure," Joe answered. "Never felt better in my life."“当然，”乔回答道，“这辈子还没感觉这么好过呢。”
"You feel all right, eh?Good!Good!“你觉得没问题，对吧？太好了！太好了！
You see, I was just a-wonderin’—you know, ha! ha!—goin' to get married and the rest—thought you might be unstrung, eh, a trifle?—nerves just a bit off, you know. Know how gettin' married is myself.“嗯，我只是在想——你懂的，哈哈！——你就要结婚了，其他人——以为你可能会有所松懈，嗯，是不是有点儿？嗯，是不是有点儿？——精神稍微有点儿不那么集中，你懂的。我可知道快结婚是个什么感觉。
But you're all right, eh? Of course you are. No use asking you that. Ha! ha!
Well, good luck, my boy! I know you'll win. Never had the least doubt, of course, of course."
"And good-by, Miss Pritchard," he said to Genevieve, gallantly handing her into the elevator. "Hope you call often. Will be charmed—charmed—I assure you."“再见，普里查德小姐，”他边对吉纳维芙说着，边殷勤地送她进电梯。“希望你们常常打电话给我。乐意接待——乐意之极——我向你们保证。”
"Everybody calls you 'Joe'," she said reproachfully, as the car dropped downward. "Why don't they call you 'Mr. Fleming'? That's no more than proper."“大家都叫你‘乔’，”她语气责备地说道，这时电梯正往下降。“他们为什么不叫你‘弗莱明先生’？那才最适合你。”
But he was staring moodily at the elevator boy and did not seem to hear.
"What's the matter, Joe?" she asked, with a tenderness the power of which to thrill him she knew full well.“怎么了，乔？”她温柔地问道。她非常清楚，这种温柔的力量能让他激动起来。
"Oh, nothing," he said. "I was only thinking—and wishing."“嗯，没什么，”他说，“我只是在想——在盼望着。”
"Wishing?—what?"Her voice was seduction itself, and her eyes would have melted stronger than he, though they failed in calling his up to them.“盼望着？——盼望什么？”她的声音对他来说，本身就是一种诱惑，她的眼睛能够让他更温柔，但这些都未能引起他的注意力。
Then, deliberately, his eyes lifted to hers. "I was wishing you could see me fight just once."
She made a gesture of disgust, and his face fell. It came to her sharply that the rival had thrust between and was bearing him away.
"I—I'd like to," she said hastily with an effort, striving after that sympathy which weakens the strongest men and draws their heads to women's breasts.“我——我愿意去看，”她急急地说道，仿佛努力地想要显示出情感上的支撑。这种支撑会让最坚强的男人变得脆弱，让他们将头依靠在女人的胸口上。
Again his eyes lifted and looked into hers. He meant it—she knew that. It seemed a challenge to the greatness of her love.
"It would be the proudest moment of my life," he said simply.“那将会是我生命中最骄傲的时刻。”他坦率地说。
It may have been the apprehensiveness of love, the wish to meet his need for her sympathy, and the desire to see the Game face to face for wisdom's sake,—and it may have been the clarion call of adventure ringing through the narrow confines of uneventful existence; for a great daring thrilled through her, and she said, just as simply, "I will."
"I didn't think you would, or I wouldn't have asked," he confessed, as they walked out to the sidewalk.“我本以为你不会去呢，要不然我就不会问了。”他承认道。这时他们正走到人行道上。
"But can't it be done?" she asked anxiously, before her resolution could cool.“但是能行吗？”趁着自己的决心还没冷却下来，她不安地问道。
"Oh, I can fix that; but I didn't think you would."“嗯，我能搞定的，但是我以为你不会答应呢。”
"I didn't think you would," he repeated, still amazed, as he helped her upon the electric car and felt in his pocket for the fare.“我以为你不会答应呢。”他一边依然很惊讶地重复着，一边伸手到口袋里掏车费，和她一起上了电车。
Genevieve and Joe were working-class aristocrats. In an environment made up largely of sordidness and wretchedness they had kept themselves unsullied and wholesome. Theirs was a self-respect, a regard for the niceties and clean things of life, which had held them aloof from their kind. Friends did not come to them easily; nor had either ever possessed a really intimate friend, a heart-companion with whom to chum and have things in common. The social instinct was strong in them, yet they had remained lonely because they could not satisfy that instinct and at that same time satisfy their desire for cleanness and decency.
If ever a girl of the working class had led the sheltered life, it was Genevieve. In the midst of roughness and brutality, she had shunned all that was rough and brutal. She saw but what she chose to see, and she chose always to see the best, avoiding coarseness and uncouthness without effort, as a matter of instinct. To begin with, she had been peculiarly unexposed. An only child, with an invalid mother upon whom she attended, she had not joined in the street games and frolics of the children of the neighborhood. Her father, a mild-tempered, narrow-chested, anaemic little clerk, domestic because of his inherent disability to mix with men, had done his full share toward giving the home an atmosphere of sweetness and tenderness.
An orphan at twelve, Genevieve had gone straight from her father's funeral to live with the Silversteins in their rooms above the candy store; and here, sheltered by kindly aliens, she earned her keep and clothes by waiting on the shop. Being Gentile, she was especially necessary to the Silversteins, who would not run the business themselves when the day of their Sabbath came round.
And here, in the uneventful little shop, six maturing years had slipped by. Her acquaintances were few. She had elected to have no girl chum for the reason that no satisfactory girl had appeared. Nor did she choose to walk with the young fellows of the neighborhood, as was the custom of girls from their fifteenth year. "That stuck-up doll-face," was the way the girls of the neighborhood described her; and though she earned their enmity by her beauty and aloofness, she none the less commanded their respect. "Peaches and cream," she was called by the young men—though softly and amongst themselves, for they were afraid of arousing the ire of the other girls, while they stood in awe of Genevieve, in a dimly religious way, as a something mysteriously beautiful and unapproachable.
For she was indeed beautiful. Springing from a long line of American descent, she was one of those wonderful working-class blooms which occasionally appear, defying all precedent of forebears and environment, apparently without cause or explanation. She was a beauty in color, the blood spraying her white skin so deliciously as to earn for her the apt description, "peaches and cream."She was a beauty in the regularity of her features; and, if for no other reason, she was a beauty in the mere delicacy of the lines on which she was moulded. Quiet, low-voiced, stately, and dignified, she somehow had the knack of dress, and but befitted her beauty and dignity with anything she put on. Withal, she was sheerly feminine, tender and soft and clinging, with the smouldering passion of the mate and the motherliness of the woman. But this side of her nature had lain dormant through the years, waiting for the mate to appear.
Then Joe came into Silverstein's shop one hot Saturday afternoon to cool himself with ice-cream soda. She had not noticed his entrance, being busy with one other customer, an urchin of six or seven who gravely analyzed his desires before the show-case wherein truly generous and marvellous candy creations reposed under a cardboard announcement, "Five for Five Cents."
She had heard, "Ice-cream soda, please," and had herself asked, "What flavor?" without seeing his face. For that matter, it was not a custom of hers to notice young men. There was something about them she did not understand. The way they looked at her made her uncomfortable, she knew not why; while there was an uncouthness and roughness about them that did not please her. As yet, her imagination had been untouched by man. The young fellows she had seen had held no lure for her, had been without meaning to her. In short, had she been asked to give one reason for the existence of men on the earth, she would have been nonplussed for a reply.
As she emptied the measure of ice-cream into the glass, her casual glance rested on Joe's face, and she experienced on the instant a pleasant feeling of satisfaction. The next instant his eyes were upon her face, her eyes had dropped, and she was turning away toward the soda fountain. But at the fountain, filling the glass, she was impelled to look at him again—but for no more than an instant, for this time she found his eyes already upon her, waiting to meet hers, while on his face was a frankness of interest that caused her quickly to look away.
That such pleasingness would reside for her in any man astonished her. "What a pretty boy," she thought to herself, innocently and instinctively trying to ward off the power to hold and draw her that lay behind the mere prettiness. "Besides, he isn't pretty," she thought, as she placed the glass before him, received the silver dime in payment, and for the third time looked into his eyes. Her vocabulary was limited, and she knew little of the worth of words; but the strong masculinity of his boy's face told her that the term was inappropriate.
"He must be handsome, then," was her next thought, as she again dropped her eyes before his. But all good-looking men were called handsome, and that term, too, displeased her. But whatever it was, he was good to see, and she was irritably aware of a desire to look at him again and again.“那他肯定是英俊了。”这是她的下一个想法。这时，她又低垂眼帘，看着他面前的地方。但是所有好看的男人都可以称为“英俊”，这个词也不能让她满意。无论那个词是什么，总之他看起来很舒服。她意识到自己总想一次又一次地看他，对此她很苦恼。
As for Joe, he had never seen anything like this girl across the counter. While he was wiser in natural philosophy than she, and could have given immediately the reason for woman's existence on the earth, nevertheless woman had no part in his cosmos. His imagination was as untouched by woman as the girl's was by man. But his imagination was touched now, and the woman was Genevieve. He had never dreamed a girl could be so beautiful, and he could not keep his eyes from her face. Yet every time he looked at her, and her eyes met his, he felt painful embarrassment, and would have looked away had not her eyes dropped so quickly.
But when, at last, she slowly lifted her eyes and held their gaze steadily, it was his own eyes that dropped, his own cheek that mantled red. She was much less embarrassed than he, while she betrayed her embarrassment not at all. She was aware of a flutter within, such as she had never known before, but in no way did it disturb her outward serenity. Joe, on the contrary, was obviously awkward and delightfully miserable.
Neither knew love, and all that either was aware was an overwhelming desire to look at the other. Both had been troubled and roused, and they were drawing together with the sharpness and imperativeness of uniting elements. He toyed with his spoon, and flushed his embarrassment over his soda, but lingered on; and she spoke softly, dropped her eyes, and wove her witchery about him.
But he could not linger forever over a glass of ice-cream soda, while he did not dare ask for a second glass. So he left her to remain in the shop in a waking trance, and went away himself down the street like a somnambulist. Genevieve dreamed through the afternoon and knew that she was in love. Not so with Joe. He knew only that he wanted to look at her again, to see her face. His thoughts did not get beyond this, and besides, it was scarcely a thought, being more a dim and inarticulate desire.
The urge of this desire he could not escape. Day after day it worried him, and the candy shop and the girl behind the counter continually obtruded themselves. He fought off the desire. He was afraid and ashamed to go back to the candy shop. He solaced his fear with, "I ain't a ladies' man."Not once, nor twice, but scores of times, he muttered the thought to himself, but it did no good. And by the middle of the week, in the evening, after work, he came into the shop. He tried to come in carelessly and casually, but his whole carriage advertised the strong effort of will that compelled his legs to carry his reluctant body thither. Also, he was shy, and awkwarder than ever. Genevieve, on the contrary, was serener than ever, though fluttering most alarmingly within. He was incapable of speech, mumbled his order, looked anxiously at the clock, despatched his ice-cream soda in tremendous haste, and was gone.
She was ready to weep with vexation. Such meagre reward for four days' waiting, and assuming all the time that she loved! He was a nice boy and all that, she knew, but he needn't have been in so disgraceful a hurry. But Joe had not reached the corner before he wanted to be back with her again. He just wanted to look at her. He had no thought that it was love. Love? That was when young fellows and girls walked out together. As for him—And then his desire took sharper shape, and he discovered that that was the very thing he wanted her to do. He wanted to see her, to look at her, and well could he do all this if she but walked out with him. Then that was why the young fellows and girls walked out together, he mused, as the week-end drew near. He had remotely considered this walking out to be a mere form or observance preliminary to matrimony. Now he saw the deeper wisdom in it, wanted it himself, and concluded therefrom that he was in love.
Both were now of the same mind, and there could be but the one ending; and it was the mild nine days' wonder of Genevieve's neighborhood when she and Joe walked out together.
Both were blessed with an avarice of speech, and because of it their courtship was a long one. As he expressed himself in action, she expressed herself in repose and control, and by the love-light in her eyes—though this latter she would have suppressed in all maiden modesty had she been conscious of the speech her heart printed so plainly there. "Dear" and "darling" were too terribly intimate for them to achieve quickly; and, unlike most mating couples, they did not overwork the love-words. For a long time they were content to walk together in the evenings, or to sit side by side on a bench in the park, neither uttering a word for an hour at a time, merely gazing into each other's eyes, too faintly luminous in the starshine to be a cause for self-consciousness and embarrassment.
He was as chivalrous and delicate in his attention as any knight to his lady. When they walked along the street, he was careful to be on the outside,—somewhere he had heard that this was the proper thing to do,—and when a crossing to the opposite side of the street put him on the inside, he swiftly side-stepped behind her to gain the outside again. He carried her parcels for her, and once, when rain threatened, her umbrella. He had never heard of the custom of sending flowers to one's lady-love, so he sent Genevieve fruit instead. There was utility in fruit. It was good to eat. Flowers never entered his mind, until, one day, he noticed a pale rose in her hair. It drew his gaze again and again. It was her hair, therefore the presence of the flower interested him. Again, it interested him because she had chosen to put it there. For these reasons he was led to observe the rose more closely. He discovered that the effect in itself was beautiful, and it fascinated him. His ingenuous delight in it was a delight to her, and a new and mutual love-thrill was theirs—because of a flower. Straightway he became a lover of flowers. Also, he became an inventor in gallantry. He sent her a bunch of violets. The idea was his own. He had never heard of a man sending flowers to a woman. Flowers were used for decorative purposes, also for funerals. He sent Genevieve flowers nearly every day, and so far as he was concerned the idea was original, as positive an invention as ever arose in the mind of man.
He was tremulous in his devotion to her—as tremulous as was she in her reception of him. She was all that was pure and good, a holy of holies not lightly to be profaned even by what might possibly be the too ardent reverence of a devotee. She was a being wholly different