AND then, after six years, she saw him again. He was seated at one of those little bamboo tables decorated with a Japanese vase of paper daffodils. There was a tall plate of fruit in front of him, and very carefully, in a way she recognized immediately as his "special" way, he was peeling an orange. He must have felt that shock of recognition in her for he looked up and met her eyes. Incredible! He didn't know her! She smiled; he frowned. She came towards him. He closed his eyes an instant, but opening them his face lit up as though he had struck a match in a dark room. He laid down the orange and pushed back his chair, and she took her little warm hand out of her muff and gave it to him. "Vera!" he exclaimed. "How strange. Really, for a moment I didn't know you. Won't you sit down? You've had lunch? Won't you have some coffee?" She hesitated, but of course she meant to.
"Yes, I'd like some coffee." And she sat down opposite him. "You've changed. You've changed very much," he said, staring at her with that eager, lighted look. [Page 229] "You look so well. I've never seen you look so well before." "Really?" She raised her veil and unbuttoned her high fur collar. "I don't feel very well. I can't bear this weather, you know." "Ah, no. You hate the cold. . . . "
"Loathe it." She shuddered. "And the worst of it is that the older one grows . . . " He interrupted her. "Excuse me," and tapped on the table for the waitress. "Please bring some coffee and cream." To her: "You are sure you won't eat anything? Some fruit, perhaps. The fruit here is very good." "No, thanks. Nothing."
"Then that's settled." And smiling just a hint too broadly he took up the orange again. "You were saying–the older one grows–" "The colder," she laughed. But she was thinking how well she remembered that trick of his–the trick of interrupting her–and of how it used to exasperate her six years ago. She used to feel then as though he, quite...