Mr Dimock

Cover of book Mr Dimock
Categories: Nonfiction

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ORTONS Horace stood that evening in the shadow at the end of the Nortons' long garden. It was after eight, but warm afternoon still lingered on the grey-brown houses, over the rose bushes, and on Aileen's white figure, as she appeared opposite, on the iron balcony leading from the drawing room. Another figure descended the steps, looking back as though for instructions. Even at that distance, Horace could see how tall, how lightly held and slim a figure it was; no Englishman would walk like that. Who was Aileen's young friend ? Horace twinkled a bit, recalling the variety and number of Aileen's swains. But as this one came slowly toward him down the long, straight gravelled path common to London back gardens, Horace was struck by a definite unlikeness to any type he knew. An American boy would have come at a rush; an English one with some consciousness; a German stiffly. Was this boy a Frenchman? No; too beautiful, Horace decided, even from there. Italian? An Italian might have those fine cut lines; and the boy's brown flushed skin, something lofty in the carriage of the head, might have been a young aristocrat's in ancientRome. Still, the watcher was sure he was not Italian. Horace had your real American's enthusiasm for his own sex, and the minor poet's appreciation of beauty. He moved forward now with genuine pleasure to get Aileen's message. The stranger stopped short, almost as though he were about to salute Dimock, and said carefully, with hardly any accent, but evidently choosing every word, "Madam Norton says I must call you. Dinner is there." Horace, who was not short, had to look up as he smiled his answer. The boy smiled back, but with no flash of white teeth like an Italian's; rather with a gravity beyond his years. "You're an old ...

Mr Dimock
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