A Song Begins by A Song Begins

A Song Begins by A Song Begins

Author:A Song Begins
Language: eng
Format: epub


"How—how dare you do such a thing?" Anthea turned

and faced him then, her eyes dark and wide. "I never said you could kiss me. I never intended—"

"Oh, for heaven's sake! Don't be so melodramatic about it," he exclaimed impatiently. And suddenly he was the tired, rather jaded man who had had enough of the evening. "A kiss counts for nothing in the theatre world. There's no need to have heroics. Run along with you—home to your Kensington boarding-house. I'm late already."

She wanted to hurl some verbal thunderbolt at him, to say something—anything—that would make him feel the full weight of her scorn and detestation of him. But he had already turned away from her, and she had the strangely chilling impression that she scarcely existed for him any more.

Shaking with anger, sad a sort of dismay which she could neither identify nor explain to herself, she went out of the room. A good many people were clustered in the corridor outside, and some of them glanced at her curiously because she had been allowed to go into the great man's room before them

But Anthea hardly noticed them, as she made her way past, and then down the stone stairs and along to the stage door.

"Go straight home," he had ordered her, and she had thought that was what she was going to do. But, when she saw the crowd round the stage door, something stronger than her sense of obedience—stronger perhaps than her common sense—checked her. She moved no farther than the fringe of the crowd. And there she waited, in the shadows of Floral Street, until he should come out.

Once or twice, when the night breeze blew chill (as it always does down Floral Street),, Anthea thought she should go home. But she could not tear herself away.

She saw the tenor come out, and give autographs to devoted admirers. And then presently there was a concerted surge forward, a chorus of, "There she is!" and a moment later Peroni—radiant and lovely—stood in the doorway, with Oscar Warrender behind her.

He was smiling and obviously in a good mood. And, although Anthea, in safe obscurity, was too far away to hear what was said, she gathered that he made some joke, for the crowd near roared with laughter, and Peroni gave him a very sparkling glance.

Anthea felt strangely aimless and detached from the scene. Like a child pressing its nose against a shop window to gaze at the Christmas display, without any hope of ever sharing it.

"I can't bear him!" she told herself. "I could have killed him when he kissed me in that casual, almost insulting way."

But she still seemed to feel the firm pressure of that strong, arrogant, smiling mouth on hers. And when the couple in the stage-doorway finally made a move to go, and he lightly adjusted the mink wrap round Peroni's beautiful shoulders, she found she was gripping her hands together until they hurt.

They were in the car now, Oscar Warrender in the driving seat,


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