Page:Pierre and Luce.djvu/75

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hall they say good day in a choking voice, and she ushers him into the first apartment which serves as dining-room. There it is that she works: her easel is installed near the window. At first they do not know what to say to one another: both have thought over this visit altogether too much beforehand; none of the speeches they had prepared is able to come forth; and they talk in a halfvoice, although there is nobody else in the house—and it's just for that reason. They stay seated at some distance from each other with their arms rigid; and he has not even thrown back the collar of his cloak. They chat about the cold weather and the hours of the tramcars. They are unhappy to feel themselves so silly.

At last she makes an effort and asks if he has brought the photographs, and scarcely has he taken them from his pocket when both pluck up a spirit. These pictures are the intermediaries over whose heads the chat revives; for now the two are not entirely alone; there are eyes that look at you and they are not embarrassing. Pierre has had