To my astonishment my triumph did me harm with the boys. Some sneered, while all agreed that I did it to show off. Jones and the Sixth began the boycott again. I didn't mind much, for I had heavier disappointments and dearer hopes.
The worst was I found it difficult to see Lucille in the bad weather; indeed I hardly caught a glimpse of her the whole winter. Edwards asked me frequently to the Vicarage; she might have made half a dozen meetings but she would not, and I was sick at heart with disappointment and the regret of unfulfilled desire. It was March or April before I was alone with her in her schoolroom at the Vicarage. I was too cross with her to be more than polite. Suddenly she said, "Vous me boudez". I shrugged my shoulders.
'You don't like me", I began, "so what's the use of my caring."
"I like you a great deal", she said, "but—"
"No, no", I said, shaking my head, "if you liked me, you wouldn't avoid me and—"
"Perhaps it's because I like you too much—"
"Then you'd make me happy", I broke in.
"Happy", she repeated, "How can I?"
"By letting me kiss you, and—"
"Yes, and—" she repeated significantly.
"What harm does it do you?" I asked.
"What harm", she repeated, "Don't you know it's wrong? One should only do that with one's husband; you know that."
"I don't know anything of the sort", I cried, "That's all silly. We don't believe that to-day."
"I believe it", she said gravely.
"But if you didn't, you'd let me", I cried, "say that, Lucille, that would be almost as good, for it would show you liked me a little."