John Galsworthy
The White Mon­key

The White Monkey

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“No,” said Victorine, “I haven’t sent it yet. I wanted to see him first.” The young man at the counter was looking at her hard. He went again to the tube, then spoke.
“Will you wait a minute, please—Mr. Mont’s lady secretary is coming down.”
Victorine inclined her head towards her sinking heart. A lady secretary! She would never get there now! And there came on her the sudden dread of false pretences. But the thought of Tony standing at his corner, ballooned up to the eyes, as she had spied out more than once, fortified her desperation.
A girl’s voice said: “Miss Manuelli? Mr. Mont’s secretary, perhaps you could give me a message.”
A fresh-faced young woman’s eyes were travelling up and down her. Pinching her accent hard, she said: “Oh! I’m afraid I couldn’t do that.”
The travelling gaze stopped at her face. “If you’ll come with me, I’ll see if he can see you.”
Alone in a small waiting-room, Victorine sat without movement, till she saw a young man’s face poked through the doorway, and heard the words:
“Will you come in?”
“No retreat, no retreat
They must conquer or die
Who have no retreat!

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