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TONO-BUNGAY

"Confound Cromer! Yes!"

"How could you bring yourself——"

I felt a spasm of petulant annoyance at this unexpected catastrophe.

"I should like to wring Smithie's brother's neck," I said. . . .

Marion spoke in dry broken fragments of sentences. "You . . . I'd always thought that anyhow you couldn't deceive me. . . . I suppose all men are horrid—about this."

"It doesn't strike me as horrid. It seems to me the most necessary consequence—and natural thing in the world."

I became aware of some one moving about in the passage, and went and shut the door of the room. Then I walked back to the hearthrug and turned.

"It's rough on you," I said. "But I didn't mean you to know. You've never cared for me. I've had the devil of a time. Why should you mind?"

She sat down in a draped armchair. "I have cared for you," she said.

I shrugged my shoulders.

"I suppose," she said, "she cares for you?"

I had no answer.

"Where is she now?"

"Oh! does it matter to you? . . . Look here, Marion! This—this I didn't anticipate. I didn't mean this thing to smash down on you like this. But, you know, something had to happen. I'm sorry—sorry to the bottom of my heart that things have come to this between us. But indeed, I'm taken by surprise. I don't know where I am—I don't know how we got here. Things took me by surprise. I found myself alone with her one day. I kissed her. I went on. It