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378
TONO-BUNGAY

room to find the rest of my clothes. I was in a state of exasperated hunger for Beatrice and I was too inflamed and weakened to conceal the state of my mind. I was feebly angry because of the irritation of dressing and particularly of the struggle to put on my trousers without being able to see my legs. I was staggering about, and once I had fallen over a chair, and I had upset the jar of Michaelmas daisies.

I must have been a detestable spectacle. "I'll go back to bed," said I, "if I may have a word with Miss Beatrice. I've got something to say to her. That's why I'm dressing."

My point was conceded, but there were long delays. Whether the household had my ultimatum or whether she told Beatrice directly I do not know, and what Lady Osprey can have made of it in the former case I can't imagine. . . .

At last Beatrice came and stood by my bedside. "Well?" she said.

"All I want to say," 1 said with the querulous note of a misunderstood child, "is that I can't take this as final. I want to see you and talk when I'm better—and write. I can't do anything now. I can't argue."

I was overtaken with self-pity and began to snivel.

"I can't rest. You see? I can't do anything."

She sat down beside me again and spoke softly. "I promise I will talk it all over with you again. When you are well. I promise I will meet you somewhere so that we can talk. You can't talk now. I asked you not to talk now. All you want to know you shall know. . . . Will that do?"

"I'd like to know——"

She looked round to see the door was closed, stood up and went to it.