BACCARAT CHAPTER I HAVE it your own way, said John Courtney to his wife. They are young yet, and I should have thought they spoke French pretty well for their ages. But if youve set your heart on a French seaside holiday instead of an English one, why, we must see about finding the right place. It was an unusually long speech for John, but there was nothing unusual in his saying yes to all his wifes requests, nothing unusual in the 7 8 BACCARAT light that came into his eyes when he looked upon her. We ought to go where there are no English families, where they will hear nothing but French from morning until night, where they will play with French children, and get the accent, she went on, from that vantage coign of the stool at his feet, whence it was so easy to lay a caressing head against his knee. Is that not so, my John The possessive pronoun came often to her lips when they were alone. It had never ceased to seem wonderful to her that these six solid feet of English manhood, so big and gruff and grey, should belong to her exclusively how exclu- sively, it was hardly within her to divine. But, of course, except to Julie, there was nothing very wonderful about John Courtney. He was just a level-headed provincial lawyer, who had gradually established himself in the confidence of his fellow townsmen from the time when he had been a lanky orphan, and Aunt Sophia had been able to boast BACCARAT 9 Theres one thing about my nephew John, you can rely upon him he always keeps his word. This had been a simple thing to him as a boy up to now, it had hardly seemed less simple to him as a man. Stick to your contract, never mind if you wrote or spoke it stick to it. That was the advice you got at Johns office it had come to be a byword in the town, almost a jest. Yet the public probity benefited by it. Young as he was, for his hair was not grey with the weight of years, he had an influence. Men spoke well of him, and deservedly. Marriage had been a contract with John Courtney. It will be seen how he kept, not only to the letter, but to the unvowed spirit of it. He and Julie had been married nearly nine years, yet she was still well under thirty, and, although she had borne him two children, her figure, svelte and curved and graceful, was almost a girls figure her face, with its low brow and dark lashes, its sparkling eyes, and scarlet lips,
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