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Often they swam and as Amory floated lazily in the water he shut his
mind to all thoughts except those of hazy soap-bubble lands where the
sun splattered through wind-drunk trees. How could any one possibly
think or worry, or do anything except splash and dive and loll there
on the edge of time while the flower months failed. Let the days move
over--sadness and memory and pain recurred outside, and here, once more,
before he went on to meet them he wanted to drift and be young.
There were days when Amory resented that life had changed from an even
progress along a road stretching ever in sight, with the scenery merging
and blending, into a succession of quick, unrelated scenes--two years of
sweat and blood, that sudden absurd instinct for paternity that Rosalind
had stirred; the half-sensual, half-neurotic quality of this autumn with
Eleanor. He felt that it would take all time, more than he could ever
spare, to glue these strange cumbersome pictures into the scrap-book of
his life. It was all like a banquet where he sat for this half-hour of
his youth and tried to enjoy brilliant epicurean courses.
Dimly he promised himself a time where all should be welded together.
For months it seemed that he had alternated between being borne along a
stream of love or fascination, or left in an eddy, and in the eddies
he had not desired to think, rather to be picked up on a wave's top and
swept along again.
"The despairing, dying autumn and our love--how well they harmonize!"
said Eleanor sadly one day as they lay dripping by the water.
"The Indian summer of our hearts--" he ceased.
"Tell me," she said finally, "was she light or dark?"
"Was she more beautiful than I am?"
"I don't know," said Amory shortly.
One night they walked while the moon rose and poured a great burden of
glory over the garden until it seemed fairyland with Amory and Eleanor,
dim phantasmal shapes, expressing eternal beauty in curious elfin love
moods. Then they turned out of the moonlight into the trellised darkness
of a vine-hung pagoda, where there were scents so plaintive as to be
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