THE FINANCIER 
side her and she looked up smiling, not interrupting the 
reverie she was attempting to recall from Schubert. 
Suddenly he bent over and pressed his lips firmly to hers. 
His mustache thrilled her with its silky touch. She 
stopped playing and tried to catch her breath, for, strong 
as she was, it affected her breathing. Her heart was 
beating like a trip-hammer. She did not say "oh," or 
" you mustn't," but rose and walked over near a window 
less visible than the piano from the living-room, and 
lifted the curtain, pretending to look out. She felt as 
though she might faint, so intensely happy was she. 
Cowperwood followed her quickly. Slipping his arms 
about her waist, he pulled her head back, looking at her 
flushed cheeks, her clear, moist eyes, her red mouth. 
" You love me ?" he whispered, rather grim with desire. 
"Yes: yes You know I do." 
He crushed her face to his, and she put up her hands 
and stroked his hair. 
A terrible feeling of possession, mastery, happiness, 
and understanding, love of her and of her body, suddenly 
overwhelmed him. 
" I love you," he said, as though he were surprised to 
hear himself say it. " I didn't think I did; but I do. 
You're beautiful. I'm wild about you now." 
"And I love you," she answered. "I can't help it. I 
know I shouldn't, but—oh---" Her hands closed tight 
over his ears and temples. She put her lips to his and 
dreamed into his eyes. Then she stepped away quickly, 
looking out into the street, and he walked back into the 
sitting-room. No one had come. They were quite alone. 
He was debating whether he should risk anything further 
when Norah appeared, and not long afterward Mrs. 
Cowperwood. Then Aileen and Norah left. 
9