Newland Archer sat at the writing-table in his library in East Thirty-nint_treet.
He had just got back from a big official reception for the inauguration of th_ew galleries at the Metropolitan Museum, and the spectacle of those grea_paces crowded with the spoils of the ages, where the throng of fashio_irculated through a series of scientifically catalogued treasures, ha_uddenly pressed on a rusted spring of memory.
"Why, this used to be one of the old Cesnola rooms," he heard some one say; and instantly everything about him vanished, and he was sitting alone on _ard leather divan against a radiator, while a slight figure in a lon_ealskin cloak moved away down the meagrely- fitted vista of the old Museum.
The vision had roused a host of other associations, and he sat looking wit_ew eyes at the library which, for over thirty years, had been the scene o_is solitary musings and of all the family confabulations.
It was the room in which most of the real things of his life had happened.
There his wife, nearly twenty-six years ago, had broken to him, with _lushing circumlocution that would have caused the young women of the ne_eneration to smile, the news that she was to have a child; and there thei_ldest boy, Dallas, too delicate to be taken to church in midwinter, had bee_hristened by their old friend the Bishop of New York, the ample magnificen_rreplaceable Bishop, so long the pride and ornament of his diocese. Ther_allas had first staggered across the floor shouting "Dad," while May and th_urse laughed behind the door; there their second child, Mary (who was so lik_er mother), had announced her engagement to the dullest and most reliable o_eggie Chivers's many sons; and there Archer had kissed her through he_edding veil before they went down to the motor which was to carry them t_race Church—for in a world where all else had reeled on its foundations the
"Grace Church wedding" remained an unchanged institution.
It was in the library that he and May had always discussed the future of th_hildren: the studies of Dallas and his young brother Bill, Mary's incurabl_ndifference to "accomplishments," and passion for sport and philanthropy, an_he vague leanings toward "art" which had finally landed the restless an_urious Dallas in the office of a rising New York architect.
The young men nowadays were emancipating themselves from the law and busines_nd taking up all sorts of new things. If they were not absorbed in stat_olitics or municipal reform, the chances were that they were going in fo_entral American archaeology, for architecture or landscape-engineering; taking a keen and learned interest in the prerevolutionary buildings of thei_wn country, studying and adapting Georgian types, and protesting at th_eaningless use of the word "Colonial." Nobody nowadays had "Colonial" house_xcept the millionaire grocers of the suburbs.
But above all—sometimes Archer put it above all—it was in that library tha_he Governor of New York, coming down from Albany one evening to dine an_pend the night, had turned to his host, and said, banging his clenched fis_n the table and gnashing his eye-glasses: "Hang the professional politician!
You're the kind of man the country wants, Archer. If the stable's ever to b_leaned out, men like you have got to lend a hand in the cleaning."
"Men like you—" how Archer had glowed at the phrase! How eagerly he had rise_p at the call! It was an echo of Ned Winsett's old appeal to roll his sleeve_p and get down into the muck; but spoken by a man who set the example of th_esture, and whose summons to follow him was irresistible.
Archer, as he looked back, was not sure that men like himself WERE what hi_ountry needed, at least in the active service to which Theodore Roosevelt ha_ointed; in fact, there was reason to think it did not, for after a year i_he State Assembly he had not been re-elected, and had dropped back thankfull_nto obscure if useful municipal work, and from that again to the writing o_ccasional articles in one of the reforming weeklies that were trying to shak_he country out of its apathy. It was little enough to look back on; but whe_e remembered to what the young men of his generation and his set had looke_orward—the narrow groove of money-making, sport and society to which thei_ision had been limited—even his small contribution to the new state of thing_eemed to count, as each brick counts in a well-built wall. He had done littl_n public life; he would always be by nature a contemplative and a dilettante; but he had had high things to contemplate, great things to delight in; and on_reat man's friendship to be his strength and pride.
He had been, in short, what people were beginning to call "a good citizen." I_ew York, for many years past, every new movement, philanthropic, municipal o_rtistic, had taken account of his opinion and wanted his name. People said:
"Ask Archer" when there was a question of starting the first school fo_rippled children, reorganising the Museum of Art, founding the Grolier Club, inaugurating the new Library, or getting up a new society of chamber music.
His days were full, and they were filled decently. He supposed it was all _an ought to ask.
Something he knew he had missed: the flower of life. But he thought of it no_s a thing so unattainable and improbable that to have repined would have bee_ike despairing because one had not drawn the first prize in a lottery. Ther_ere a hundred million tickets in HIS lottery, and there was only one prize; the chances had been too decidedly against him. When he thought of Elle_lenska it was abstractly, serenely, as one might think of some imaginar_eloved in a book or a picture: she had become the composite vision of al_hat he had missed. That vision, faint and tenuous as it was, had kept hi_rom thinking of other women. He had been what was called a faithful husband; and when May had suddenly died—carried off by the infectious pneumonia throug_hich she had nursed their youngest child—he had honestly mourned her. Thei_ong years together had shown him that it did not so much matter if marriag_as a dull duty, as long as it kept the dignity of a duty: lapsing from that, it became a mere battle of ugly appetites. Looking about him, he honoured hi_wn past, and mourned for it. After all, there was good in the old ways.
His eyes, making the round of the room—done over by Dallas with Englis_ezzotints, Chippendale cabinets, bits of chosen blue-and-white and pleasantl_haded electric lamps—came back to the old Eastlake writing- table that he ha_ever been willing to banish, and to his first photograph of May, which stil_ept its place beside his inkstand.
There she was, tall, round-bosomed and willowy, in her starched muslin an_lapping Leghorn, as he had seen her under the orange-trees in the Missio_arden. And as he had seen her that day, so she had remained; never quite a_he same height, yet never far below it: generous, faithful, unwearied; but s_acking in imagination, so incapable of growth, that the world of her yout_ad fallen into pieces and rebuilt itself without her ever being conscious o_he change. This hard bright blindness had kept her immediate horizo_pparently unaltered. Her incapacity to recognise change made her childre_onceal their views from her as Archer concealed his; there had been, from th_irst, a joint pretence of sameness, a kind of innocent family hypocrisy, i_hich father and children had unconsciously collaborated. And she had die_hinking the world a good place, full of loving and harmonious households lik_er own, and resigned to leave it because she was convinced that, whateve_appened, Newland would continue to inculcate in Dallas the same principle_nd prejudices which had shaped his parents' lives, and that Dallas in turn (when Newland followed her) would transmit the sacred trust to little Bill.
And of Mary she was sure as of her own self. So, having snatched little Bil_rom the grave, and given her life in the effort, she went contentedly to he_lace in the Archer vault in St. Mark's, where Mrs. Archer already lay saf_rom the terrifying "trend" which her daughter-in-law had never even becom_ware of.
Opposite May's portrait stood one of her daughter. Mary Chivers was as tal_nd fair as her mother, but large-waisted, flat-chested and slightl_louching, as the altered fashion required. Mary Chivers's mighty feats o_thleticism could not have been performed with the twenty-inch waist that Ma_rcher's azure sash so easily spanned. And the difference seemed symbolic; th_other's life had been as closely girt as her figure. Mary, who was no les_onventional, and no more intelligent, yet led a larger life and held mor_olerant views. There was good in the new order too.
The telephone clicked, and Archer, turning from the photographs, unhooked th_ransmitter at his elbow. How far they were from the days when the legs of th_rass-buttoned messenger boy had been New York's only means of quic_ommunication!
"Chicago wants you."
Ah—it must be a long-distance from Dallas, who had been sent to Chicago by hi_irm to talk over the plan of the Lakeside palace they were to build for _oung millionaire with ideas. The firm always sent Dallas on such errands.
"Hallo, Dad—Yes: Dallas. I say—how do you feel about sailing on Wednesday?
Mauretania: Yes, next Wednesday as ever is. Our client wants me to look a_ome Italian gardens before we settle anything, and has asked me to nip ove_n the next boat. I've got to be back on the first of June—" the voice brok_nto a joyful conscious laugh—"so we must look alive. I say, Dad, I want you_elp: do come."
Dallas seemed to be speaking in the room: the voice was as near by and natura_s if he had been lounging in his favourite arm-chair by the fire. The fac_ould not ordinarily have surprised Archer, for long-distance telephoning ha_ecome as much a matter of course as electric lighting and five-day Atlanti_oyages. But the laugh did startle him; it still seemed wonderful that acros_ll those miles and miles of country—forest, river, mountain, prairie, roarin_ities and busy indifferent millions—Dallas's laugh should be able to say: "O_ourse, whatever happens, I must get back on the first, because Fanny Beaufor_nd I are to be married on the fifth."
The voice began again: "Think it over? No, sir: not a minute. You've got t_ay yes now. Why not, I'd like to know? If you can allege a single reason—No; I knew it. Then it's a go, eh? Because I count on you to ring up the Cunar_ffice first thing tomorrow; and you'd better book a return on a boat fro_arseilles. I say, Dad; it'll be our last time together, in this kind of way—.
Oh, good! I knew you would."
Chicago rang off, and Archer rose and began to pace up and down the room.
It would be their last time together in this kind of way: the boy was right.
They would have lots of other "times" after Dallas's marriage, his father wa_ure; for the two were born comrades, and Fanny Beaufort, whatever one migh_hink of her, did not seem likely to interfere with their intimacy. On th_ontrary, from what he had seen of her, he thought she would be naturall_ncluded in it. Still, change was change, and differences were differences, and much as he felt himself drawn toward his future daughter-in-law, it wa_empting to seize this last chance of being alone with his boy.
There was no reason why he should not seize it, except the profound one tha_e had lost the habit of travel. May had disliked to move except for vali_easons, such as taking the children to the sea or in the mountains: she coul_magine no other motive for leaving the house in Thirty-ninth Street or thei_omfortable quarters at the Wellands' in Newport. After Dallas had taken hi_egree she had thought it her duty to travel for six months; and the whol_amily had made the old-fashioned tour through England, Switzerland and Italy.
Their time being limited (no one knew why) they had omitted France. Arche_emembered Dallas's wrath at being asked to contemplate Mont Blanc instead o_heims and Chartres. But Mary and Bill wanted mountain-climbing, and ha_lready yawned their way in Dallas's wake through the English cathedrals; an_ay, always fair to her children, had insisted on holding the balance evenl_etween their athletic and artistic proclivities. She had indeed proposed tha_er husband should go to Paris for a fortnight, and join them on the Italia_akes after they had "done" Switzerland; but Archer had declined. "We'll stic_ogether," he said; and May's face had brightened at his setting such a goo_xample to Dallas.
Since her death, nearly two years before, there had been no reason for hi_ontinuing in the same routine. His children had urged him to travel: Mar_hivers had felt sure it would do him good to go abroad and "see th_alleries." The very mysteriousness of such a cure made her the more confiden_f its efficacy. But Archer had found himself held fast by habit, by memories, by a sudden startled shrinking from new things.
Now, as he reviewed his past, he saw into what a deep rut he had sunk. Th_orst of doing one's duty was that it apparently unfitted one for doin_nything else. At least that was the view that the men of his generation ha_aken. The trenchant divisions between right and wrong, honest and dishonest, respectable and the reverse, had left so little scope for the unforeseen.
There are moments when a man's imagination, so easily subdued to what it live_n, suddenly rises above its daily level, and surveys the long windings o_estiny. Archer hung there and wondered… .
What was left of the little world he had grown up in, and whose standards ha_ent and bound him? He remembered a sneering prophecy of poor Lawrenc_efferts's, uttered years ago in that very room: "If things go on at thi_ate, our children will be marrying Beaufort's bastards."
It was just what Archer's eldest son, the pride of his life, was doing; an_obody wondered or reproved. Even the boy's Aunt Janey, who still looked s_xactly as she used to in her elderly youth, had taken her mother's emerald_nd seed-pearls out of their pink cotton-wool, and carried them with her ow_witching hands to the future bride; and Fanny Beaufort, instead of lookin_isappointed at not receiving a "set" from a Paris jeweller, had exclaimed a_heir old-fashioned beauty, and declared that when she wore them she shoul_eel like an Isabey miniature.
Fanny Beaufort, who had appeared in New York at eighteen, after the death o_er parents, had won its heart much as Madame Olenska had won it thirty year_arlier; only instead of being distrustful and afraid of her, society took he_oyfully for granted. She was pretty, amusing and accomplished: what more di_ny one want? Nobody was narrow-minded enough to rake up against her the half- forgotten facts of her father's past and her own origin. Only the older peopl_emembered so obscure an incident in the business life of New York a_eaufort's failure, or the fact that after his wife's death he had bee_uietly married to the notorious Fanny Ring, and had left the country with hi_ew wife, and a little girl who inherited her beauty. He was subsequentl_eard of in Constantinople, then in Russia; and a dozen years later America_ravellers were handsomely entertained by him in Buenos Ayres, where h_epresented a large insurance agency. He and his wife died there in the odou_f prosperity; and one day their orphaned daughter had appeared in New York i_harge of May Archer's sister-in-law, Mrs. Jack Welland, whose husband ha_een appointed the girl's guardian. The fact threw her into almost cousinl_elationship with Newland Archer's children, and nobody was surprised whe_allas's engagement was announced.
Nothing could more dearly give the measure of the distance that the world ha_ravelled. People nowadays were too busy—busy with reforms and "movements,"
with fads and fetishes and frivolities—to bother much about their neighbours.
And of what account was anybody's past, in the huge kaleidoscope where all th_ocial atoms spun around on the same plane?
Newland Archer, looking out of his hotel window at the stately gaiety of th_aris streets, felt his heart beating with the confusion and eagerness o_outh.
It was long since it had thus plunged and reared under his widening waistcoat, leaving him, the next minute, with an empty breast and hot temples. H_ondered if it was thus that his son's conducted itself in the presence o_iss Fanny Beaufort—and decided that it was not. "It functions as actively, n_oubt, but the rhythm is different," he reflected, recalling the coo_omposure with which the young man had announced his engagement, and taken fo_ranted that his family would approve.
"The difference is that these young people take it for granted that they'r_oing to get whatever they want, and that we almost always took it for grante_hat we shouldn't. Only, I wonder—the thing one's so certain of in advance: can it ever make one's heart beat as wildly?"
It was the day after their arrival in Paris, and the spring sunshine hel_rcher in his open window, above the wide silvery prospect of the Plac_endome. One of the things he had stipulated—almost the only one— when he ha_greed to come abroad with Dallas, was that, in Paris, he shouldn't be made t_o to one of the newfangled "palaces."
"Oh, all right—of course," Dallas good-naturedly agreed. "I'll take you t_ome jolly old-fashioned place— the Bristol say—" leaving his fathe_peechless at hearing that the century-long home of kings and emperors was no_poken of as an old-fashioned inn, where one went for its quain_nconveniences and lingering local colour.
Archer had pictured often enough, in the first impatient years, the scene o_is return to Paris; then the personal vision had faded, and he had simpl_ried to see the city as the setting of Madame Olenska's life. Sitting alon_t night in his library, after the household had gone to bed, he had evoke_he radiant outbreak of spring down the avenues of horse-chestnuts, th_lowers and statues in the public gardens, the whiff of lilacs from th_lower-carts, the majestic roll of the river under the great bridges, and th_ife of art and study and pleasure that filled each mighty artery to bursting.
Now the spectacle was before him in its glory, and as he looked out on it h_elt shy, old-fashioned, inadequate: a mere grey speck of a man compared wit_he ruthless magnificent fellow he had dreamed of being… .
Dallas's hand came down cheerily on his shoulder. "Hullo, father: this i_omething like, isn't it?" They stood for a while looking out in silence, an_hen the young man continued: "By the way, I've got a message for you: th_ountess Olenska expects us both at half- past five."
He said it lightly, carelessly, as he might have imparted any casual item o_nformation, such as the hour at which their train was to leave for Florenc_he next evening. Archer looked at him, and thought he saw in his gay youn_yes a gleam of his great-grandmother Mingott's malice.
"Oh, didn't I tell you?" Dallas pursued. "Fanny made me swear to do thre_hings while I was in Paris: get her the score of the last Debussy songs, g_o the Grand-Guignol and see Madame Olenska. You know she was awfully good t_anny when Mr. Beaufort sent her over from Buenos Ayres to the Assomption.
Fanny hadn't any friends in Paris, and Madame Olenska used to be kind to he_nd trot her about on holidays. I believe she was a great friend of the firs_rs. Beaufort's. And she's our cousin, of course. So I rang her up thi_orning, before I went out, and told her you and I were here for two days an_anted to see her."
Archer continued to stare at him. "You told her I was here?"
"Of course—why not?" Dallas's eye brows went up whimsically. Then, getting n_nswer, he slipped his arm through his father's with a confidential pressure.
"I say, father: what was she like?"
Archer felt his colour rise under his son's unabashed gaze. "Come, own up: yo_nd she were great pals, weren't you? Wasn't she most awfully lovely?"
"Lovely? I don't know. She was different."
"Ah—there you have it! That's what it always comes to, doesn't it? When sh_omes, SHE'S DIFFERENT—and one doesn't know why. It's exactly what I fee_bout Fanny."
His father drew back a step, releasing his arm. "About Fanny? But, my dea_ellow—I should hope so! Only I don't see—"
"Dash it, Dad, don't be prehistoric! Wasn't she— once—your Fanny?"
Dallas belonged body and soul to the new generation. He was the first-born o_ewland and May Archer, yet it had never been possible to inculcate in hi_ven the rudiments of reserve. "What's the use of making mysteries? It onl_akes people want to nose 'em out," he always objected when enjoined t_iscretion. But Archer, meeting his eyes, saw the filial light under thei_anter.
"Well, the woman you'd have chucked everything for: only you didn't,"
continued his surprising son.
"I didn't," echoed Archer with a kind of solemnity.
"No: you date, you see, dear old boy. But mother said—"
"Yes: the day before she died. It was when she sent for me alone—you remember?
She said she knew we were safe with you, and always would be, because once, when she asked you to, you'd given up the thing you most wanted."
Archer received this strange communication in silence. His eyes remaine_nseeingly fixed on the thronged sunlit square below the window. At length h_aid in a low voice: "She never asked me."
"No. I forgot. You never did ask each other anything, did you? And you neve_old each other anything. You just sat and watched each other, and guessed a_hat was going on underneath. A deaf-and-dumb asylum, in fact! Well, I bac_our generation for knowing more about each other's private thoughts than w_ver have time to find out about our own.—I say, Dad," Dallas broke off,
"you're not angry with me? If you are, let's make it up and go and lunch a_enri's. I've got to rush out to Versailles afterward."
Archer did not accompany his son to Versailles. He preferred to spend th_fternoon in solitary roamings through Paris. He had to deal all at once wit_he packed regrets and stifled memories of an inarticulate lifetime.
After a little while he did not regret Dallas's indiscretion. It seemed t_ake an iron band from his heart to know that, after all, some one had guesse_nd pitied… . And that it should have been his wife moved him indescribably.
Dallas, for all his affectionate insight, would not have understood that. T_he boy, no doubt, the episode was only a pathetic instance of vai_rustration, of wasted forces. But was it really no more? For a long tim_rcher sat on a bench in the Champs Elysees and wondered, while the stream o_ife rolled by… .
A few streets away, a few hours away, Ellen Olenska waited. She had never gon_ack to her husband, and when he had died, some years before, she had made n_hange in her way of living. There was nothing now to keep her and Arche_part—and that afternoon he was to see her.
He got up and walked across the Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries garden_o the Louvre. She had once told him that she often went there, and he had _ancy to spend the intervening time in a place where he could think of her a_erhaps having lately been. For an hour or more he wandered from gallery t_allery through the dazzle of afternoon light, and one by one the picture_urst on him in their half-forgotten splendour, filling his soul with the lon_choes of beauty. After all, his life had been too starved… .
Suddenly, before an effulgent Titian, he found himself saying: "But I'm onl_ifty-seven—" and then he turned away. For such summer dreams it was too late; but surely not for a quiet harvest of friendship, of comradeship, in th_lessed hush of her nearness.
He went back to the hotel, where he and Dallas were to meet; and together the_alked again across the Place de la Concorde and over the bridge that leads t_he Chamber of Deputies.
Dallas, unconscious of what was going on in his father's mind, was talkin_xcitedly and abundantly of Versailles. He had had but one previous glimpse o_t, during a holiday trip in which he had tried to pack all the sights he ha_een deprived of when he had had to go with the family to Switzerland; an_umultuous enthusiasm and cock-sure criticism tripped each other up on hi_ips.
As Archer listened, his sense of inadequacy and inexpressiveness increased.
The boy was not insensitive, he knew; but he had the facility and self- confidence that came of looking at fate not as a master but as an equal.
"That's it: they feel equal to things—they know their way about," he mused, thinking of his son as the spokesman of the new generation which had swep_way all the old landmarks, and with them the sign- posts and the danger- signal.
Suddenly Dallas stopped short, grasping his father's arm. "Oh, by Jove," h_xclaimed.
They had come out into the great tree-planted space before the Invalides. Th_ome of Mansart floated ethereally above the budding trees and the long gre_ront of the building: drawing up into itself all the rays of afternoon light, it hung there like the visible symbol of the race's glory.
Archer knew that Madame Olenska lived in a square near one of the avenue_adiating from the Invalides; and he had pictured the quarter as quiet an_lmost obscure, forgetting the central splendour that lit it up. Now, by som_ueer process of association, that golden light became for him the pervadin_llumination in which she lived. For nearly thirty years, her life—of which h_new so strangely little—had been spent in this rich atmosphere that h_lready felt to be too dense and yet too stimulating for his lungs. He though_f the theatres she must have been to, the pictures she must have looked at, the sober and splendid old houses she must have frequented, the people sh_ust have talked with, the incessant stir of ideas, curiosities, images an_ssociations thrown out by an intensely social race in a setting of immemoria_anners; and suddenly he remembered the young Frenchman who had once said t_im: "Ah, good conversation—there is nothing like it, is there?"
Archer had not seen M. Riviere, or heard of him, for nearly thirty years; an_hat fact gave the measure of his ignorance of Madame Olenska's existence.
More than half a lifetime divided them, and she had spent the long interva_mong people he did not know, in a society he but faintly guessed at, i_onditions he would never wholly understand. During that time he had bee_iving with his youthful memory of her; but she had doubtless had other an_ore tangible companionship. Perhaps she too had kept her memory of him a_omething apart; but if she had, it must have been like a relic in a small di_hapel, where there was not time to pray every day… .
They had crossed the Place des Invalides, and were walking down one of th_horoughfares flanking the building. It was a quiet quarter, after all, i_pite of its splendour and its history; and the fact gave one an idea of th_iches Paris had to draw on, since such scenes as this were left to the fe_nd the indifferent.
The day was fading into a soft sun-shot haze, pricked here and there by _ellow electric light, and passers were rare in the little square into whic_hey had turned. Dallas stopped again, and looked up.
"It must be here," he said, slipping his arm through his father's with _ovement from which Archer's shyness did not shrink; and they stood togethe_ooking up at the house.
It was a modern building, without distinctive character, but many-windowed, and pleasantly balconied up its wide cream-coloured front. On one of the uppe_alconies, which hung well above the rounded tops of the horse-chestnuts i_he square, the awnings were still lowered, as though the sun had just lef_t.
"I wonder which floor—?" Dallas conjectured; and moving toward the porte- cochere he put his head into the porter's lodge, and came back to say: "Th_ifth. It must be the one with the awnings."
Archer remained motionless, gazing at the upper windows as if the end of thei_ilgrimage had been attained.
"I say, you know, it's nearly six," his son at length reminded him.
The father glanced away at an empty bench under the trees.
"I believe I'll sit there a moment," he said.
"Why—aren't you well?" his son exclaimed.
"Oh, perfectly. But I should like you, please, to go up without me."
Dallas paused before him, visibly bewildered. "But, I say, Dad: do you mea_ou won't come up at all?"
"I don't know," said Archer slowly.
"If you don't she won't understand."
"Go, my boy; perhaps I shall follow you."
Dallas gave him a long look through the twilight.
"But what on earth shall I say?"
"My dear fellow, don't you always know what to say?" his father rejoined wit_ smile.
"Very well. I shall say you're old-fashioned, and prefer walking up the fiv_lights because you don't like lifts."
His father smiled again. "Say I'm old-fashioned: that's enough."
Dallas looked at him again, and then, with an incredulous gesture, passed ou_f sight under the vaulted doorway.
Archer sat down on the bench and continued to gaze at the awninged balcony. H_alculated the time it would take his son to be carried up in the lift to th_ifth floor, to ring the bell, and be admitted to the hall, and then ushere_nto the drawing-room. He pictured Dallas entering that room with his quic_ssured step and his delightful smile, and wondered if the people were righ_ho said that his boy "took after him."
Then he tried to see the persons already in the room—for probably at tha_ociable hour there would be more than one—and among them a dark lady, pal_nd dark, who would look up quickly, half rise, and hold out a long thin han_ith three rings on it… . He thought she would be sitting in a sofa-corne_ear the fire, with azaleas banked behind her on a table.
"It's more real to me here than if I went up," he suddenly heard himself say; and the fear lest that last shadow of reality should lose its edge kept hi_ooted to his seat as the minutes succeeded each other.
He sat for a long time on the bench in the thickening dusk, his eyes neve_urning from the balcony. At length a light shone through the windows, and _oment later a man-servant came out on the balcony, drew up the awnings, an_losed the shutters.
At that, as if it had been the signal he waited for, Newland Archer got u_lowly and walked back alone to his hotel.