34. Chapter XXXIV.
"Very well. I shall say you're old-fashioned, and
prefer walking up the five flights because you don't like
His father smiled again. "Say I'm old-fashioned: that's
Dallas looked at him again, and then, with an
incredulous gesture, passed out of sight under the vaulted
Archer sat down on the bench and continued to gaze
at the awninged balcony. He calculated the time it
would take his son to be carried up in the lift to the
fifth floor, to ring the bell, and be admitted to the hall,
and then ushered into the drawing-room. He pictured
Dallas entering that room with his quick assured step
and his delightful smile, and wondered if the people
were right who said that his boy "took after him."
Then he tried to see the persons already in the
room--for probably at that sociable hour there would
be more than one--and among them a dark lady, pale
and dark, who would look up quickly, half rise, and
hold out a long thin hand with three rings on it. . . . He
thought she would be sitting in a sofa-corner near the
fire, with azaleas banked behind her on a table.
"It's more real to me here than if I went up," he
suddenly heard himself say; and the fear lest that last
shadow of reality should lose its edge kept him rooted
to his seat as the minutes succeeded each other.
He sat for a long time on the bench in the thickening
dusk, his eyes never turning from the balcony. At length
a light shone through the windows, and a moment later
a man-servant came out on the balcony, drew up the
awnings, and closed the shutters.
At that, as if it had been the signal he waited for,
Newland Archer got up slowly and walked back alone
to his hotel.