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Bliss and Other Stories


But how she makes me break my rule. Oh, youVe seen for yourself, but I could give you countless examples,

. . . Evenings, when I sit in some gloomy café, and an automatic piano starts playing a " mouse " tune (there are dozens of tunes that evoke just her) I begin to dream things like . . .

A little house on the edge of the sea, somewhere far, far away. A girl outside in a frock rather like Red Indian women wear, hailing a light, barefoot boy who runs up from the beach.

" What have you got ? "

" A fish." I smile and give it to her.

. . . The same girl, the same boy, different costumes—sitting at an open window, eating fruit and leaning out and laughing.

" All the wild strawberries are for you, Mouse, I won't touch one."

. . . A wet night. They are going home together under an umbrella. They stop on the door to press their wet cheeks together.

And so on and so on until some dirty old gallant comes up to my table and sits opposite and begins to grimace and yap. Until I hear myself saying: " But I've got the little girl for you, mon vieux. So little . . . so tiny." I kiss the tips of my fingers page 115and lay them upon my heart. " I give you my word of honour as a gentleman, a writer, serious, young, and extremely interested in modern English literature."