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15. CHAPTER XV (continued)
Helen and Margaret walked with the earnest girl as far as Battersea Bridge Station, arguing copiously all the way. When she had gone they were conscious of an alleviation, and of the great beauty of the evening. They turned back towards Oakley Street. The lamps and the plane-trees, following the line of the embankment, struck a note of dignity that is rare in English cities. The seats, almost deserted, were here and there occupied by gentlefolk in evening dress, who had strolled out from the houses behind to enjoy fresh air and the whisper of the rising tide. There is something continental about Chelsea Embankment. It is an open space used rightly, a blessing more frequent in Germany than here. As Margaret and Helen sat down, the city behind them seemed to be a vast theatre, an opera-house in which some endless trilogy was performing, and they themselves a pair of satisfied subscribers, who did not mind losing a little of the second act.
The earnest girl's train rumbled away over the bridge, "I say, Helen--"
"Are we really going to follow up Mr. Bast?"
"I don't know."
"I think we won't."
"As you like."
"It's no good, I think, unless you really mean to know people. The discussion brought that home to me. We got on well enough with him in a spirit of excitement, but think of rational intercourse. We mustn't play at friendship. No, it's no good."
"There's Mrs. Lanoline, too," Helen yawned. "So dull."
"Just so, and possibly worse than dull."
"I should like to know how he got hold of your card."
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