Page:Court Royal.djvu/294

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‘Joe, I should like to have a photograph taken of you. Have you been photographed at any time?’

She shook her head and laughed.

‘You are a girl to make a fellow think and try to do better. I should like to have your picture.’

‘I have had neither the time nor the money to waste on, one,’ she answered.

‘The money is nothing. Will you shut up shop for half an hour and come with me to the photographer? I will pay the damage.’

‘I can close. It is now noon, and no business will be done at dinner-time. But I will consent on one condition only.’

‘Any condition you like to make.’

‘Let us three be taken in a group.’

‘What three? You, Lazarus, and I?’

‘No, certainly not. You, I, and the snail.’

‘By all means. Immortalise my folly. I also will make a stipulation: will you grant it?’

‘What is it? I am not like you. I do not offer blank cheques.’

‘Let us be taken holding hands. Just now, when I promised to amend, you flashed out with such a smile, and took my hand and said, “That is right!” It sent a rush of blood to my heart, and I felt as if I had conquered the world. Let us be taken together, holding hands over the snail, and then I shall be nerved to keep my resolution. If disposed to break it, I shall look on the picture and blush.’

‘I consent. Promise me,’ said Joanna, looking down and speaking slowly, ‘that you will not be angry with me whatever you may hear to-morrow. If you are in trouble yourself, do not doubt but that I also shall have to go through humiliation before I can get the money.’

‘From whom will you get it?’

‘Never mind.’

‘But I do mind. You won’t do anything wrong, Joe, even for me?’

‘For the snail, you mean.’

‘I should never forgive myself if you got into trouble. I do respect you. There is not another girl in the world I think of or care for as you.’