The White Gloveby Fred M White
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The sweet face in the tangle of golden hair looked strangely out of place there. One does not usually meet with such beauty and refinement in a dingy restaurant where bread and butter is retailed by the slice and the coffee makes a tardy appearance in a pint pot. And yet the shabby hat and worn, thin jacket told a tale. As Clifford Marsh glanced at his wife a passionate anger shook him, and a yearning look came into his honest, grey eyes.
"I'm sorry I brought you here, darling," he said. "But when one comes down to one's last sovereign—Well, well. But I'm not beaten yet."
Marsh spoke with a certain fierce energy. The sweet face opposite smiled bravely. Madeleine Marsh was slender and pretty as a dainty picture by Greuze; nothing could rob her of her inherent refinement. Even a fuzzy-headed, bold-eyed waitress recognised the presence of a lady, and lowered her strident voice accordingly. As for Clifford Marsh, he would have passed anywhere. He was well dressed enough. But, then, he was 'looking for work,' and Madeleine knew by bitter experience how desirable appearance was. Most of her own clothes and all her little articles of jewellery had gone. She had parted from them with the utmost cheerfulness. Clifford felt that he had never loved his wife as he did at this moment. And yet there was a certain sense of shame behind his passion.
"I'm afraid you'll have to go back to Crowborough without me," he said. "Barrymore's people said that Sir Arthur might see me if I called back again at six. I dare not miss this chance, Maddy. If you don't get back by the excursion you'll have to pay full fare."
And she had come up to town to try and sell some of her Christmas cards that her whilom friends used to praise so much. She was finding out the difference now between trifling as an amateur and competing with the professional for bread.
"All right, Clifford," she said, with the sunniest of smiles. "You'll get back to-night. Please pay for the tea and let us go."
Clifford changed his last sovereign, blushing a little as the fuzzy-headed waitress refused to accept the threepence offered her. The kindly significance of the refusal touched Clifford, and the hard lump at his heart melted a little. It was just five as he saw Madeleine into the train at Victoria, and then Marsh turned his steps citywards.
- WDS Publishing
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