Page:Miss Mapp.djvu/220

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her, and not care very much whether she forgave them or not. Her mind was made up, and she gave a wan smile.

“Oh, Major Flint,” she said, “it hurt me so dreadfully that you should have stood by and heard that Man​—​if he is a man​—​say those awful things to me and not take my side. It made me feel so lonely. I had always been such good friends with you, and then you turned your back on me like that. I didn’t know what I had done to deserve it. I lay awake ever so long.”

This was affecting, and he violently rubbed the nap of his hat the wrong way.... Then Miss Mapp broke into her sunniest smile.

“Oh, I’m so glad you came to say you were sorry!” she said. “Dear Major Benjy, we’re quite friends again.”

She dabbed her handkerchief on her eyes.

“So foolish of me!” she said. “Now sit down in my most comfortable chair and have a cigarette.”

Major Flint made a peck at the hand she extended to him, and cleared his throat to indicate emotion. It really was a great relief to think that she would not make awful allusions to duels in the middle of bridge-parties.

“And since you feel as you do about Captain Puffin,” she said, “of course, you won’t see anything more of him. You and I are quite one, aren’t we, about that? You have dissociated yourself from him completely. The fact of your being sorry does that.”

It was quite clear to the Major that this condition was involved in his forgiveness, though that fact, so obvious to Miss Mapp, had not occurred to him before. Still, he had to accept it, or go unhouseled again. He could explain to Puffin, under cover of night, or perhaps in deaf-and-dumb alphabet from his window....