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The Magician It was very painful to see the effort he made to regain his self−command. Susie suffered as much as he did. Her impulse was to throw herself on her knees, and kiss his hands, and comfort him; but she knew that he was interested in her only because she was Margaret's friend. At last he got up and, taking his pipe from his pocket, filled it silently. She was terrified at the look on his face. The first time she had ever seen him, Susie wondered at the possibility of self−torture which was in that rough−hewn countenance; but she had never dreamed that it could express such unutterable suffering. Its lines were suddenly changed, and it was terrible to look upon. 'I can't believe it's true,' he muttered. 'I can't believe it.' There was a knock at the door, and Arthur gave a startled cry. 'Perhaps she's come back.' He opened it hurriedly, his face suddenly lit up by expectation; but it was Dr Porhoet. 'How do you do?' said the Frenchman. 'What is happening?' He looked round and caught the dismay that was on the faces of Arthur and Susie. 'Where is Miss Margaret? I thought you must be giving a party.' There was something in his manner that made Susie ask why. 'I received a telegram from Mr Haddo this morning.' He took it from his pocket and handed it to Susie. She read it and passed it to Arthur. It said: Come to the studio at five. High jinks. Oliver Haddo 'Margaret was married to Mr Haddo this morning,' said Arthur, quietly. 'I understand they have gone to England.' Susie quickly told the doctor the few facts they knew. He was as surprised, as distressed, as they. 'But what is the explanation of it all?' he asked. Arthur shrugged his shoulders wearily. 'She cared for Haddo more than she cared for me, I suppose. It is natural enough that she should go away in this fashion rather than offer explanations. I suppose she wanted to save herself a scene she thought might be rather painful.' 'When did you see her last?' 'We spent yesterday evening together.' 'And did she not show in any way that she contemplated such a step?'



The Magician  
The Magician  

W. Somerset Maugham