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30. CHAPTER XXX (continued)
Cy Bogart covered Fern's nervous hand with his red paw, and when she bounced with half-anger and shrieked, "Let go, I tell you!" he grinned and waved his pipe--a gangling twenty-year-old satyr.
When Maud and Erik returned and the grouping shifted, Erik muttered at Carol, "There's a boat on shore. Let's skip off and have a row."
"What will they think?" she worried. She saw Maud Dyer peer at Erik with moist possessive eyes. "Yes! Let's!" she said.
She cried to the party, with the canonical amount of sprightliness, "Good-by, everybody. We'll wireless you from China."
As the rhythmic oars plopped and creaked, as she floated on an unreality of delicate gray over which the sunset was poured out thin, the irritation of Cy and Maud slipped away. Erik smiled at her proudly. She considered him--coatless, in white thin shirt. She was conscious of his male differentness, of his flat masculine sides, his thin thighs, his easy rowing. They talked of the library, of the movies. He hummed and she softly sang "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot." A breeze shivered across the agate lake. The wrinkled water was like armor damascened and polished. The breeze flowed round the boat in a chill current. Carol drew the collar of her middy blouse over her bare throat.
"Getting cold. Afraid we'll have to go back," she said.
"Let's not go back to them yet. They'll be cutting up. Let's keep along the shore."
"But you enjoy the `cutting up!' Maud and you had a beautiful time."
"Why! We just walked on the shore and talked about fishing!"
She was relieved, and apologetic to her friend Maud. "Of course. I was joking."
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