Her laugh seemed to him terribly unfeeling.
"Oh! oh! Don't be foolish. Sit down. Isn't washing one's head awful?"
"Of course, I haven't much experience."
And he thought desperately: 'Dare I--oughtn't I--couldn't I somehow take'her hand or put my arm round her, or something?' Instead, he sat very rigid at his end of the sofa, while she sat lax and lissom at the other, and one of those crises of paralysis which beset would- -be lovers fixed him to the soul.
Sometimes during this last month memories of a past existence, when chaff and even kisses came readily to the lips, and girls were fair game, would make him think: 'Is she really such an innocent? Doesn't she really want me to kiss her?' Alas! such intrusions lasted but a moment before a blast of awe and chivalry withered them, and a strange and tragic delicacy--like nothing he had ever known--resumed its sway. And suddenly he heard her say:
"Why do you know such awful men?"
"What? I don't know any awful men."
"Oh yes, you do; one came here yesterday; he had whiskers, and he was awful."