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The Spike or Victoria College Review 1938


page 24


Roger had a good job. He liked it and he was well-paid. So were the typists; he often speculated with the other fellows in the same building how much of it they put on their backs, and in their mouths. It was not rude; things were just like this nowadays.

There was one thing about Roger—he had not married. And everyone knew exactly-that is, thought they knew—why, except himself. There was some delicate feeling for—. No, he could not explain it.

The rain beat on his shoulders and wet the paper he was taking home to Mater, for he had no umbrella. (Good Lord, he hated the brutal things, always blowing inside-out in this darned place). He caught sight of her standing on the steps, and was going by in his usual fashion when he suddenly looked up impersonally into her face. Then he half expected her to open out like a dark young flower. She was trying to push up from her bud, but something would not let her. Ah! At last Roger knew it was something beautiful like this he wanted. He wanted to take home the bud, cherish it and make it flower.

Fifty years hence they'd still be talking. He had a kind of kink. Wouldn't marry a girl of his own class and ended up with this funny little thing, out of nowhere. But it was in the family; oh yes, didn't you know? Old Harcourt was very queer. .

Well, not her exactly, perhaps, but now he knew.

A red postal van nearly bowled him over on the corner. By gum! That was his second close shave that day. He must look after himself more.

A girl who had been walking behind crossed over and went down the other street against the rain. She had just spent five minutes over her face at the narrow glass in the dressing-room. She had seen his look; she felt she was slighted, wounded. Men were selfish. They had too much their own way. Why could they pick and choose and obey their little whims while the girls were pushed round and then left? Or was it that she was just. . ?

When Belinda's sister came at a quarter past they climbed silently into their bus without having spoken a word to each other. Maimie took out her knitting. Her chest sat out in her rather tight coat, and she wore an engagement ring. Belinda had a sneaking opinion, which she would never have disclosed, that it was rather like a stickily over-iced cake. That's what came of having one's own ideas. But of course when you knew Harold . . .

The driver ripped his gears and the inside of the bus, with its windows coated by people's breath, filled with blue smoke. Maimie knitted with the placidness of those who have plenty of comfortable things to think of at the moment, and plenty of flesh on their bones. But Belinda cherished in her heart a fairy story, lovely and complete as the shortest day. "He looked; he looked at me."