All day Kendall had been comparing Maude Knox with Andree. When he left the American girl and went home to his apartment he had been under the spell of her American manner, of her frankness, of the undefinable something which one finds in all American girls of the college type, of the cultured type, which is to be found in no other women the world over. When you have called it the American manner you have done your best at description…. It was the old story of like calling to like, of that to which one is accustomed seeming to be more desirable than even the most delightful of novelties. It was the call of home, the call of race, a thing that can never be negligible in the affairs of mankind.
A night of sleep rounded the sharp peaks of his impressions. When he awoke in the morning he did not see Maude Knox so distinctly, but an impression remained with him that would be permanent—that she was splendid, desirable, the sort of girl a fellow would like to be very well acquainted with. He went no farther than that. He was not so near to being in love with her as he was with Andree, or, if he were, he failed to recognize it…. He did recognize that Andree had become an important personage in his life, so important that he could not think of another girl without thinking immediately of her.
She was everything that Maude Knox was not and Maude Knox seemed to be everything that Andree was not. There was no single point at which their characters converged and ran parallel—except that both were “nice”…. And even their “niceness” was different. Kendall understood Maude’s niceness perfectly; Andree’s was a mystery to him; it was something he felt, but could not set down in any known terms.
One could readily imagine Maude playing golf or swimming or driving a car furiously and capably; it was impossible to imagine Andree doing any of these things. Andree was utterly feminine. One could be pals with Maude; with Andree, Kendall felt one could be bare acquaintance or sweetheart—nothing else…. One felt that Andree would give and give and give, asking only love in return: Maude would give and give, but would demand, as American women do, a like amount of giving in return.
Also, in the attraction which Andree exercised were the elements of mystery and of danger. It was something that he knew nothing about her; that she appeared as out of nothingness, and then disappeared into black night again—and that he was apprehensive as to where his acquaintance with her was leading him. To a young man of some imagination these two factors were compelling…. The more he thought of the girls that day the stronger grew his desire to be with Andree—to taste the charm of her presence and to sense the mystery that surrounded her, the mystery of herself and the mystery of a great race, apparent in her, and not understandable by him.
He was at the place of meeting early and there paced back and forth before the entrance to subterranean Paris, watching the crowds and waiting with impatience. The crowd was an old story to him now, but it never quite lost its fascination, never quite laid aside that air of unreality, of foreignness, of eventfulness that made the Paris throng of those days what it was—foreign in the eyes of the foreigner and foreign in the eyes of the Parisian…. He saw a slender girl—she seemed not more than twenty—bidding farewell to a youthful soldier. Their good-by was unrestrained and affecting. He was going to the north—to the battle-line—and always was the possibility that he might never return. It spoke eloquently in the fervor of that farewell…. They stood, locked in each other’s arms while their lips met again and again—with all the world to see. But none pointed or smiled. The world understood, and the heart of the world moved in sympathy…. Here was another girl who might never know the joys of wife or mother. If that young man did not return, she, fortunate in the possession of a sweetheart, might descend from her high place of happiness and security to the drab, hopeless level of her million sisters…. It was no ordinary parting—it was a parting with more than a loved one, for it was a possible parting with the right to live….
Then Andree appeared, in white once more, walking with tiny, demure little steps, unsmiling, apparently unconscious that she was not alone on that crowded corner. So she always came. At one moment she was not there; the next moment she appeared—from her mystery—appeared so modestly, so diffidently. Kendall said to himself that she came like some fairy, afraid lest a hostile glance or a human touch might send her back all too soon to the fairyland whence she came….
He advanced to meet her and, as she always did, she stopped as if startled, raised her eyes to his gravely, as if she had never seen him before, and then smiled that little smile which seemed to say that she was uncertain of her welcome, but hoped she would find it warm. Her slender hand was in his, with quaint formality, and she said in French: “Good-day, monsieur. How carry you yourself?”
“Very well. Very well. And you?”
“Oh, I have been bored! I have had to make a visit of duty. It was very tiresome….”
Then came the short, awkward pause while they adjusted themselves to each other and sought for words in languages strange with which to begin conversation. It was always so—that they spoke little for the first five minutes after a meeting. Neither seemed to find words to begin. Then she said, looking at him sidewise, with the merest hint of a smile in her lovely eyes, “Have you thought of me?”
“When I lifted up.” He laughed at this quotation of her literal translation of the French for arise. “In the morning, at noon, all the afternoon—always.”
“It is well,” she said. “I also have thought of you.”
“Where shall we eat?”
“I do not care…. It makes nothing…. Is Arlette well?” She laughed a little at recollection of Arlette.
For a few moments they walked along undecided, and then Kendall looked up to see Monsieur Robert approaching.
“Here’s your actor,” he said.
“What actor, monsieur?”
“You know heem?”
“I told you about him.”
“Yes…. Yes…. That was well.”
Monsieur Robert recognized Kendall, and looked quickly at Andree; then he smiled and waggled his head in the charming, boyish way he had, and lifted his hat.
“Good night,” he said, making a display of his English and extending his hand.
“Monsieur Robert, permit me, Mademoiselle Andree.”
The young actor took her hand and, with a smile that was half a laugh, bowed over it and made some response in French which was not intelligible to Kendall.
“Mademoiselle wishes to enter your profession,” Kendall said, with a twinkle in his eye. “She is going to the Académie in September.”
“Ah….” Monsieur Robert looked at her more carefully. “You enter the Académie?”
“I do not know—I hope…. I am working very hard.”
“And you wish to be an actress?… It is well. But why?”
“So she can come to New York, à la Madame Bernhardt, and bring home much money, and be too proud to know an old friend like myself when I sit in the front row and applaud.”
She smiled up at him. “When I come in New York you will go to see me?… But I shall be very great and famous. Oh yes. But I shall remember you, of a surety…. I shall remember you—a little.” There was an infinity of subdued roguishness about her.
Monsieur Robert was studying Andree with interest. “You will be ver’ pretty actress,” he said, haltingly, speaking in English so that Kendall would share in the compliment.
“You bet,” said Ken, spontaneously, and then, with characteristic American directness: “What’s this about the necessity for having some actor speak for her? She says she cannot enter unless some actor says a good word for her.”
“It makes the matter with more facility,” said Monsieur Robert.
Andree looked from Kendall to the young actor timidly, almost with the shyness of a child.
“Why not come and dine with us?” said Ken.
“I should be delighted, but it is not possible for me to-night. I am—how you say?—très-occupé…. But some other night—very soon…. With mademoiselle.” He waggled his head again and laughed his pleasing, boyish laugh.
“Shall we say to-morrow?”
“Oh, very well.”
“If it is possible for mademoiselle,” and Kendall looked at Andree.
“Yes,” she said, “to-morrow.”
“At Marty’s,” said Monsieur Robert.
“It is well…. Au revoir, mademoiselle et monsieur. Until to-morrow.”
Presently Kendall stopped. “By Jove!” he said, “I forgot to tell Arlette I wouldn’t be home to dinner. She will have it ready. Shall we dine with her?”
“As you like.”
“And afterward we can sit and talk.”
“Oh, if only you can speak more French…. There are so many things we could speak of. I should like to talk of many things to you—and to read you poems…. You know French poets?”
Ken shook his head. “You like poetry, don’t you?… I’ll bet you’re a poet yourself? Don’t you make poems?”
“One leetle book,” she said, with a rueful shake of the head. “One leetle, small book…. But it was not good—oh no. In it are only two poems that are good. The rest are bad, ver’, ver’ bad.”
“I don’t believe a word of it. I’ll bet they’re great.”
“Non … non!… I will bring them to you and you shall see…. But no. It is not possible for you to read. I am so sad … so sad.” She laughed a little to show that she was not sad at all, and tripped along by his side, almost instantly returning to that quaint gravity which always baffled Kendall. He never could tell whether it was real gravity or a sort of protective coloring such as birds use to make themselves invisible to the hostile eye.
As they descended into the Metro they met, coming up the stairs, a handsomely dressed young woman, exquisitely shod, but so painted as to cheeks that one could not possibly imagine what her natural complexion might have been. She looked at Kendall boldly.
“Camouflage,” said Andree, serenely, when the young woman had passed. “I do not like …”
It was not the first time Kendall had heard that Parisian term applied to the painted face, but he laughed now as if it were a fresh witticism to him. Andree made it fresh, for any sort of slang sounded so unnatural from her lips as to be irresistibly ludicrous … like the harmless precocity of a child.
“Vous êtes très-jolie,” he said, with decision.
“No…. I am not pretty. You do not theenk. You make mock of me.” And then, as he wrinkled his nose: “Oh, why do you make grimace?… It is not nice for make grimace at me…. And now—oh, I see—your left eye it laughs, and the other it does not. Why is that? Why does your left eye laugh?” She pointed accusingly at the offending eye and stopped still, shaking her head. “Oh, you are ver’ bad. I do not like you…. No…. No…. I do not like you.” And then she laughed with that sudden change from mock gravity to delicious merriment of which she alone, of all the people Kendall knew, was capable.
When she did that she was so alluring, so cunning, that Kendall had to hold his arms stiff at his sides to prevent them from picking her up and cuddling her and kissing her…. It seemed that humor of hers was given her to tempt kisses. Yet there was nothing deliberately provocative about her, nothing. Quite the contrary. It seemed rather her desire to suppress such things as demonstrations of affection than to provoke them.
At the apartment the concierge bowed and smiled to them, and wished them a good evening. Up-stairs Arlette was manifestly upset by the appearance of an unexpected guest, but Andree disappeared into the kitchen, whence emerged a whirlwind of chatter, and all was well…. Bert was just finishing shaving.
“Andree, eh?” he said. “Why didn’t you tip me off, and I’d have gathered up Madeleine.”
“I don’t know…. I—” Kendall was thinking about the other night.
“Piffle!” said Bert. Then, “Do you mean to tell me—”
“I certainly do mean to tell you,” Ken said, belligerently.
“You get me, young fellow. You sure do….”
“Oh, dry up, and come to dinner—and behave if you can manage it.” Kendall went into the salon to rejoin Andree, more than a little apprehensive of the future if it should throw Andree and Madeleine together.
Andree was looking about the room with humorous toleration from a seat in the outrageous piece of furniture which she had claimed as her throne. “Mademoiselle Madeleine—she is not here?”
“It is not well. Go and fetch her…. Now…. At once. Or I shall go away.” She shook her head and made stiff little gestures with her hand, but when he stood in front of her she twinkled at him and placed both hands in his when he held them out toward her. He retained them a moment and then raised them to his lips.
“You’re a sweet child,” he said.
“Oh, I do not onderstan’….I do not know…. Where is the dictionnaire?”
“No matter…. There’s Arlette announcing dinner.” It was Arlette’s custom to poke her head through the door when dinner was ready and to stare into the room silently and a little affrightedly. She never spoke. It was necessary to watch for the appearance of her head if one wanted to know when the meal was served.
Bert came in and Andree asked after Madeleine’s health as if she considered Bert personally responsible for it, demanding why she was not present.
“Ken’s afraid you don’t like her,” Bert said, mischievously.
“Mais oui…. Mais oui. I do like. I like ver’ much. Why you theenk?” She turned to Ken with the question.
“Don’t pay any attention to Bert. He thinks he has a sense of humor,” Ken said, but his ears were red, nevertheless, a circumstance which did not escape Andree’s sharp eyes. She let the matter pass and addressed herself to her food with that detachment from all other matters which always brought a smile to Kendall’s face. There were so many quaint, delightful attributes in her….
Toward the end of the dinner the diners heard a subdued whispering and giggling without, and then appeared little Arlette, bearing a dessert—a wonderful dessert. It was a pudding with a white frothiness of beaten egg covering it. It was a real dessert—the first, if one excepts fruit and ices without authority, that Ken had seen since he came to France. Little Arlette carried it to the table, and stood, big-eyed, mouth pursed, waiting for the astonishment which the miracle was to cause…. Arlette herself, wiping her chin on the back of her hand and grinning with delight, allowed her head to be seen through the door.
“It is from the concierge,” she said, very rapidly. “She sends it to messieurs with her compliments.”
“Now that’s mighty nice. You thank her, Arlette, and we’ll thank her when we go down…. I guess we haven’t made a hit with madame, eh?… And, mignonne! We must have another place, Arlette, and a spoon. But mignonne does not like pudding, eh?”
“Oui,” said little Arlette, her eyes growing even bigger, and the pucker turning into a smile.
Kendall settled the child at table and then gravely introduced her to Andree.
“She goes to America with me, you are to understand. I am about to ask Arlette for this young lady’s hand. But yes. We are very fond of each other. Is it not so, mademoiselle?”
“Yes, monsieur,” replied little Arlette, very gravely.
“Oh!… Oh!… You are ver’ naughty. I am jealous. I shall not stay. I shall go away.”
Little Arlette observed her gravely. “Monsieur will be my husband,” she said. “It is arranged.”
“Poor myself!… I am sad. I shall to weep.”
Arlette looked at Andree interestedly and expectantly and cheerfully, not displeased to have caused this frightful storm of jealousy and well prepared to rejoice in the tears of her defeated rival.
Kendall carried the mite into the other room and placed her on the sofa between himself and Andree, where she snuggled up to him with a charming little air of proprietorship. Andree bent suddenly to kiss the child, and then turned her head away and gazed out of the window….
“Now you shall sing for me,” said Kendall.
Little Arlette stood very erect and sang in a sweet little voice that carried the airs very accurately, sang the songs of the street and the music-halls and of the poilus, while her grandmother stood just within the dining-room, wrapping and unwrapping her pudgy hands in her apron and grinning and nodding her head with enormous pride. The child sang with great seriousness, her head a little back, looking for all the world like a bird on the nest opening its beak for the mother bird to drop in a worm…. When she was through, and both Andree and Arlette laughed at some of the songs especially, though Ken could not understand a word, he put a franc in her hand and kissed her. Andree snatched her up and held her close and murmured in her ear.
“Come now,” said Arlette, and the baby shook hands ceremoniously.
“You must begin to get ready to go to America,” Kendall said.
“Yes, monsieur,” she responded, and went out, turning at every step to wave her hand in farewell.
Bert came back into the room, cap in hand, and said good night.
“And what shall we do?” Kendall asked when he was gone.
“We shall sit and talk,” she replied.
“You shall tell to me many things…. If there really is a building of fifty stories high in New York, and when the war will finish, and if actors make much money in America, and also dancers…. Here the dancers do not make much money. Even the best…. Non…. A few—yes. Madame Duncan…. But in Amérique—is it not the same?”
“They earn lots of money—heaps.”
“I don’t know. They just do. People go to see them. Why don’t they make much money here?”
She shook her head. “I do not know. The people they do not go for see a dancer…. Maybe, if I cannot enter into the Conservatoire, I shall become a dancer and take myself to Amérique. But that is very hard…. One must start in the music-halls, and I do not like.”
“I should say not.” Kendall thought of her in the atmosphere of the Paris music-hall and his soul revolted.
“Pourquoi?” she asked again.
“Mademoiselle Pourquoi…. Because you are a nice child, and the music-halls are not nice.”
She smiled at him. “You theenk I am nice?”
“I think so many things about you…”
“Oh, I do not onderstan’.” Her mock despair was very pathetic until her sudden laughter changed it to delight. In revenge she discharged a volley of rapid French at him for two minutes. “You see?… It is not nice to not onderstan’. You must es-tudy French ver’ hard, and I will es-tudy English so w’en I go to New York…”
Her mood changed. “I am sad—ver’ sad…. Life, it is not good…. No.”
“Life is mighty confusing,” he said. “Why are you sad?”
“Because I am solitaire—and because there is so much miserable. Oui…. There is little happiness—only les petites minutes…. But all the time life is not well.”
The petites minutes!… The little minutes! There it was again, the same thought that Maude Knox had put into words. The little moments of happiness. Andree searched for them, too. She felt that the best life had to offer her were rare and transitory moments of joy.
“Pauvre petite!” he said, and took her hand. “You should be always glad. It isn’t right for you to be sad. You weren’t built to be sad…. It’s rotten.”
“Yes,” she said, pensively, not understanding all his words, but comprehending their meaning from his tone.
It filled him with anger to think of this child whom sorrow had no right to touch for years—to think of her life as clouded at the moment when it should have been filled with joys. It was unfair…. Life had no right to treat her so. Sympathy and tenderness moved him, and he placed his arm about her and drew her to him. She did not resist, nor did she respond, even when he turned her face upward and kissed her. Her lips were cold…. If nothing but little minutes of happiness were possible for her, he vowed in his heart that he would make them more numerous.
He continued to hold her, and she lay in his arms unresisting while he whispered to her as he would have whispered to an unhappy child—yet not as he would have whispered to a child. The touch of her, her nearness, her sweet fragility mounted to his head.
“I want you to be very happy … because I love you,” he said, and, saying it, he believed it. There was room in his thoughts for nothing but her in that moment. Inhibitions were forgotten, apprehensions laid aside—the youth in his heart cried out to the youth in her heart—nothing remained but youth and love and a great sympathy. He did not look to the future. The sharp voice of conscience, suspicious, narrow, inherited from his mother, was silenced. Not that he was consciously running counter to the demands of that conscience! He was living that minute with no thought of what the next minute might bring….
Andree freed herself and looked at him gravely, with a sad scrutiny. “No,” she said. “You do not love me…. It is not possible.”
“But I do…. I do…. Don’t you love me a little—just a little?”
“Oh,” she said in a little voice, “I am afraid….”
“Afraid? … Of what?”
“I do not know…. I am so solitaire—so lonely—and I am afraid.”
“If you love me—”
“Non!… Non!… You do not love me. You only say. And if I love you—in a week, in two week, you go away to Amérique and leave me to be more solitaire…. I should be more sad….”
“No,” he declared, and was about to expostulate and to declare that he would never leave her, but the words would not come. His mother had stepped in. “You will love me,” he declared, in spite of his mother. “We will love each other—and there will be happiness…. If the best we can have is little moments of happiness, let us have all we can of them.” He was honest, thought he was being honest in his sophistry.
“You would go away—in a week, in a month….”
He saw that she was crying, and suddenly she turned from him to bury her face in her arms and to sob quietly, not unrestrainedly, but with such a quietness as went with powerful impulse to his heart, and he gathered her to him again and tried to comfort her.
“Why do you cry? What is it, mignonne?”
She shook her head. “I do not know,” she said, but he knew that she did know and would not tell. “I will go home now…. I am sad, and you will not like me when I am sad.”
“I like you any way you choose to be,” he said, holding her close. She did not respond to his caresses, neither did she repulse them. She was simply negative, as if they were not happening to her at all. “I love you,” he repeated, insistently.
“No….” She wiped her eyes and got to her feet. “I must go to my house. Will you come?” she asked, shyly.
“Of course…. But—”
“No…. No…. You do not love me. You cannot. I do not believe—and I am afraid.”
They walked down the street in silence. Kendall tried to talk, but grew discouraged, for Andree was intent, thinking, thinking, thinking, and would not talk…. He wondered if it were the end of matters between them, if he had been too impetuous and had frightened her away. The thought frightened him, and he tried to reassure her, but could find no words. He did not know how to reassure her, because he did not know what she feared or what she was thinking…. How was he to understand? His eyes were not clear to see into her world, or his intelligence to understand it. He had declared his love to her as he would have declared it to an American girl—that and nothing more. And she—what was she thinking? What was going on inside that dainty, that sad little head? He spoke of love in American; she understood him in French. How was he to know that?
They spoke hardly a word as the Metro carried them to the Place St.-Michel, nor was the silence broken as they walked slowly up the darkened Boulevard, so dark that at times they had actually to feel their way through a spot of blackness. There was an occasional dim blue street light, but no lights were visible from any interior…. The shining out of the feeblest of lights would have brought next day a summons to appear before the police to explain the matter. Paris was severe in the matter of lights. Kendall had seen the people stone an automobile at night because the driver had neglected to dim his lamps! The city had no humor in its appreciation of air raids.
Andree did not make him turn back at the usual spot. She seemed to have forgotten him, though she clung to his arm, and they went on to broad rue Soufflot, which leads off the Boulevard at right angles to the Panthéon. In the middle of the first block Andree paused.
“It is necessary to go back now,” she said, turning her face to him, and he bent over so that he might see its expression.
“Why did you cry?” he asked
“Because I was afraid,” she said.
“You are not afraid now?”
“I—I have said I shall not have fear.”
He took both her hands and drew her close to him. There were none to see. The street was deserted. Even the tables and chairs of the café at the corner were piled in close to the wall.
“You love me a little?” he insisted.
There was a tiny pause. “Yes,” she said. It was a queer, decided little syllable, uttered as after mature deliberation. She was looking up into his face.
“Mignonne!” he said, softly, and kissed her. This time her lips were not cold, his caress was not tolerated, but returned. She returned his kiss. It was not the first girl Kendall had kissed, but it opened his eyes to the possibilities of a kiss. It went to his head, and he snatched her up in his arms as if she had been a baby. “You love me?… You will always love me?”
“Yes,” she said, in that same voice of calm decision. “And you?”
“Always…. Always,” he said.
“Non…. I know. For a week, for a month…. That is all. You are not fidèle…. You will go away and I shall be sad. I know, but I am lonely.” She kissed him. “But we shall be glad,” she said, wistfully. “We shall have happiness—many little minutes of happiness. I shall pretend that you never go away to leave me solitaire….”
What could he say? He protested and asserted, but she smiled a grave smile of knowledge and of resignation. She knew what she knew. “To-morrow,” she said. “Place de la Concorde. Sept heures.”
“And you love me?”
“Do you not believe?” she asked, sweetly.
“It is well…. Good night, monsieur. To-morrow.”
She kissed him again and freed herself. In another moment her daintiness had been engulfed in the mysterious blackness. Once more she had vanished into her fairy-land…. Each time he wondered if it could be possible that there should be another visitation.
Kendall, young, inexperienced in serious thought as he was, realized that some sort of crisis in his life had arrived; events impended which were to modify him, which were to affect him and to continue to affect him so long as life should last. He did not know what. He did not realize what had just happened to him and to Andree, and yet he wondered … wondered. And he loved her; he was sure of it. Just as he was sure she was worthy of his love!
He was exalted, yet he was troubled, perplexed, worried, so he walked. At the Boulevard St.-Germain he turned off to the eastward, crossing the Seine upon the Pont Sully, and swinging to the left on the Quai Henri IV until he reached the Boulevard de la Bastille, and so to the place forever marked in the annals of time as the spot, not where the Bastille had stood, but as the spot where it had been destroyed…. The great column uprose blackly before him. At his left was a Metro station, its entrance surrounded by people, who elbowed and surged, or stood or sat wearily near to that place of subterranean refuge…. For so had the Gothas affected the imagination of the poor of Paris! Their nights were nights of terror, for the Hun in his malignant ingenuity sought to drop his bombs in this quarter of Paris, near the Bastille, in the Faubourg St.-Antoine—St.-Antoine, mother of revolutions! If these people could be terrorized, they might be driven to a fresh revolution, reasoned Berlin…. They were in terror, but there was no fresh revolution…. And so they cowered about the subway entrances, men, women, boys, girls, wailing children in arms, ready to descend into the cold dampness of the tube at the first note of the alerte.
It was the first time Kendall had seen this thing, and it went to his heart. He felt an uprush of rage against the Hun who wrought thus inhumanly, thus without that sportsmanship which has lifted war from its mire of blood and horror and degradation, to paint it with the glamour of chivalry and heroism…. Chivalry was dead, slain by the boche, who made frightful war upon defenseless populations, stark naked, hideous, savage war stripped of glamour and of glory. The Hun pictured war not as a St. Michael clad in shining armor and mounted upon a glorious charger, but as a skeleton from which the decaying flesh had not completely fallen, riding upon a wolf….
Kendall walked on, turning now toward home. He felt that he could not sleep unless he walked himself to exhaustion, so he continued on and on and on. His consciousness was the ground of a battle between the inheritances that came from his mother and those which came from his gentle father—in which his own individual, peculiar reason sought to intervene.
“Look out,” said his mother. “She’s French, and she must be bad. She’s getting you into her clutches….”
“Now, now,” said his father, “she’s a sweet little thing, perty as a picture. I don’t see how there can be harm in her, and if there should be, it wouldn’t be wilful harm.”
“She’s nice,” said Kendall himself. “She’s a nice girl, and nothing’s going to happen. Why—I tell you, she’s a nice girl!”
And so it went, suspicion, accusation, argument, defense, until his brain whirled and he was miserable, but always his intelligence, lighted by meager experience, emerged triumphant with the declaration that she was a nice girl, and no harm could come of it….
Kendall forgot that he was a guest in a strange world; that his mode of thought, his code of ethics, his purview of life and of the affairs of life were foreign, were not of the currency of this land. It was more than a mere difference between races; it was a difference between those elements which make life…. But one thing he was given to see, and that was, that whatever came to Andree and himself could not be evil, could not be mean or squalid or wicked—and, in his limited vocabulary, it all came back to the comforting assertion, “But she’s a nice girl.” That persisted, no matter what other paths of speculation his thoughts might follow. Andree was good. There was something about her that proclaimed that she would continue to be good, and it was comforting to him…. And he believed he loved her….
He went to bed and fell asleep with the remembrance of Andree’s kiss upon his lips….
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