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34. CHAPTER XXXIV (continued)
"Are you cold?" he asked, as they stopped by Temple Bar.
"Yes, I am rather," she replied, becoming conscious that the splendid race of lights drawn past her eyes by the superb curving and swerving of the monster on which she sat was at an end. They had followed some such course in their thoughts too; they had been borne on, victors in the forefront of some triumphal car, spectators of a pageant enacted for them, masters of life. But standing on the pavement alone, this exaltation left them; they were glad to be alone together. Ralph stood still for a moment to light his pipe beneath a lamp.
She looked at his face isolated in the little circle of light.
"Oh, that cottage," she said. "We must take it and go there."
"And leave all this?" he inquired.
"As you like," she replied. She thought, looking at the sky above Chancery Lane, how the roof was the same everywhere; how she was now secure of all that this lofty blue and its steadfast lights meant to her; reality, was it, figures, love, truth?
"I've something on my mind," said Ralph abruptly. "I mean I've been thinking of Mary Datchet. We're very near her rooms now. Would you mind if we went there?"
She had turned before she answered him. She had no wish to see any one to-night; it seemed to her that the immense riddle was answered; the problem had been solved; she held in her hands for one brief moment the globe which we spend our lives in trying to shape, round, whole, and entire from the confusion of chaos. To see Mary was to risk the destruction of this globe.
"Did you treat her badly?" she asked rather mechanically, walking on.
"I could defend myself," he said, almost defiantly. "But what's the use, if one feels a thing? I won't be with her a minute," he said. "I'll just tell her--"
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