It made his friend — though rather dimly — smile. "Dear no she's safe, thank goodness — as I think I more and more feel — at home. She thought of coming, but she gave it up. I've come in a manner instead of her; and come to that extent — for you're right in your inference — on her business. So you see there IS plenty of connexion."
Waymarsh continued to see at least all there was. "Involving accordingly the particular one I've referred to?"
Strether took another turn about the room, giving a twitch to his companion's blanket and finally gaining the door. His feeling was that of a nurse who had earned personal rest by having made everything straight. "Involving more things than I can think of breaking ground on now. But don't be afraid — you shall have them from me: you'll probably find yourself having quite as much of them as you can do with. I shall — if we keep together — very much depend on your impression of some of them."
Waymarsh's acknowledgement of this tribute was characteristically indirect. "You mean to say you don't believe we WILL keep together?"
"I only glance at the danger," Strether paternally said, "because when I hear you wail to go back I seem to see you open up such possibilities of folly."
Waymarsh took it — silent a little — like a large snubbed child "What are you going to do with me?"
It was the very question Strether himself had put to Miss Gostrey, and he wondered if he had sounded like that. But HE at least could be more definite. "I'm going to take you right down to London."
"Oh I've been down to London!" Waymarsh more softly moaned. "I've no use, Strether, for anything down there."
"Well," said Strether, good-humouredly, "I guess you've some use for me."
"So I've got to go?"
"Oh you've got to go further yet."
"Well," Waymarsh sighed, "do your damnedest! Only you WILL tell me before you lead me on all the way — ?"
Our friend had again so lost himself, both for amusement and for contrition, in the wonder of whether he had made, in his own challenge that afternoon, such another figure, that he for an instant missed the thread. "Tell you — ?"
"Why what you've got on hand."
Strether hesitated. "Why it's such a matter as that even if I positively wanted I shouldn't be able to keep it from you."
Waymarsh gloomily gazed. "What does that mean then but that your trip is just FOR her?"
"For Mrs. Newsome? Oh it certainly is, as I say. Very much."
"Then why do you also say it's for me?"
Strether, in impatience, violently played with his latch. "It's simple enough. It's for both of you."
Waymarsh at last turned over with a groan. "Well, I won't marry you!"
"Neither, when it comes to that — !" But the visitor had already laughed and escaped.