“They shall not take me. Now that I know you love me, Yvonne,—for you have betrayed it,—my life is, next to yours, the most precious thing to me in the world. I go at once to Quebec to settle my affairs and prepare a home for you. Then I will come,—it will be but in a month or two, when this trouble is overpast,—and I will take you away.”
171Her face, all her form, drooped with a sort of weariness, as if her will had been too long taxed.
“You will find me the wife of George Anderson,” she said faintly.
It was as if I had been struck upon the temples. My mouth opened, and shut again without words. First rage, then amazement, then despair, ran through me in hot surges.
“But—your promise—not till he could show me to you,” I managed to stammer.
“I gave it in good faith,” she said simply. “I can no longer hold him off by it, for I have seen you safe and well.”
“I am not 佛山桑拿部长电话 safe, as you may soon see,” said I fiercely, “and not long shall I be well, as you will learn.” Then, perceiving that this was a sorry kind of threat, and little manly, I made haste to amend it.
“No, no,” I cried, “forget that! But stick to the letter of your promises, I beseech you. Why push to go back of that? Unless,” I added, with bitterness, “you want the excuse!”
She shuddered, and forgot to resent the brutality.
“Go!” she pleaded. “Save yourself—for my sake—Paul!” And her voice broke.
“That you may wed with the clearer conscience!” I went on, merciless in my pain.
She crouched down, a drear and pitiful figure, on the slope of sod, and wept silently, her hands 172over her eyes. I looked at her helplessly. I wanted to throw myself at her feet. Then the right thing seemed that I should gather her up into my arms—but I 佛山桑拿按摩飞机场 dared not touch her. At last I said, doubtfully:
“But—you love me!”
“You do love me, Yvonne?”
She lifted her face, and with a childish bravery dashed off the tears, first with one hand, then the other. She looked me straight in the eyes.
“I do not,” said she, daring the lie. “But you—you disturb me!”
This astonishing remark did not shake my confidence, but it threw me out of my argument. I shifted ground.
“You do not love him!” I exclaimed, lamely enough.
“I respect him!” said she, cool now, and controlling the situation. I felt that I had lost my one moment of advantage—the moment when I should have taken her into my arms. Not timidity, but reverence, had balked me. My heart turned, as it were, in my breast, with a hot, dumb fury—at myself.
“The respect that cannot breed love for a lover will soon breed 佛山桑拿按摩论坛 contempt,” said I, holding myself hard to mere reasoning.
173She ignored this idle answer. She arose and came close up to me.
“Paul,” she said, scarcely above a whisper, “will you save yourself for my sake? If I say—if I say that I do love you a little—that if it could have been different—been you—I should have been—oh, glad, glad!—then will you go, for my sake?”
“No, no indeed!” shouted the heart within me at this confession. But with hope came cunning. I temporized.
“And if I go, for your sake,” I asked, “when do you propose to become the wife of the Englishman?”
“Not for a long time, I will promise you,” said she earnestly. “Not for a year—no, not for two years, if you like. Oh,”—with a catch in her voice,—“not till I can feel differently about you, Paul!” And she hung her head at the admission.
“Dear,” I said, “most dear 佛山桑拿网 and wonderful, can you not even now see how monstrous it would be if I should seem, for a moment, to relinquish you to another? Soul and body must tell you you are mine, as I am yours. But your eyes are shut. You are a maid, and you do not realize what it is that I would save you from. It is your very whiteness blinds you, so that you do not see the intolerableness of what they would thrust upon 174you. For you it would be a sin. You do not see it—but you would see it, awaking to the truth when it was too late. From the horror of that awakening I must save you. I must”—
But she did not see; though her brain must have comprehended, her body did not; and therefore there could be no real comprehension of a matter so vital. She brushed aside my passionate argument, and came close up to me.
“Paul, dear,” she said, “I think I know 佛山夜生活888 the beauty of sacrifice. I am sure I know what is right. You cannot shake me. I know what must be in the end. But if you will go and save yourself, I promise that the end shall be far off—so that he may grow angry, and perhaps even set me free, as I have almost asked him to do. But now this is good-by, dear. You shall go. You
will not disobey me. But you may say good-by to me. And as once you kissed my feet (they have been proud ever since), so—though it is a sin, I know—you may kiss my lips, just once,—and go.”
How little she knew what she was doing! Even as she spoke she was in my arms. The next moment she was trembling violently, and then she strove to tear herself away. But I was inexorable, and folded her close for yet an instant longer, till she was still. I raised my head and pushed her a little away, holding her by both 佛山桑拿体验报告 arms that I might see her face.
175“Oh,” she gasped, “you are cruel! I did not mean that you should kiss me so—so hard.”
“My—wife!” I whispered irrelevantly.
“Let me go, sir,” she said, with her old imperious air, trying to remove herself from my grasp upon her arms. But I did not think it necessary to obey her.
Then her face saddened in a way that made me afraid.
“You have done wrong, Paul,” she said heavily. “I meant you should just touch me and go. You took unmanly advantage. Alas! I fear I have a bad heart. I cannot be so angry as I ought. But I am resolved. You know, now, that I love you; that no other can ever have my love. But that knowledge is the end of all between us, even of the friendship which might, one day, have comforted me. Go, I command you, if you would not have me an unhappy woman forever!”
She wrenched herself free. Then, seeing me, as she thought, hesitate for an answer, she added firmly:
“I love you! But I love honour more, and obedience to the right, and my plighted word. Go!”
“I will not go, my beloved, till you swear to tell the Englishman to-morrow that you love me and intend to be my wife.”
“Listen,” she said. “If you do not go at once, I promise you that I will be George Anderson’s wife to-morrow.”
176I stared at her dumbly. Was it conceivable that she should mean such madness? Her eyes were fathomlessly sorrowful, her mouth was set. How was I to decide?
But fortune elected to save me the decision. A sharp voice came from the bank above—