She laughed to think how true this was.
She hurried on: “Jack, kneel down at once, and swear that you are perfectly sore with loving me, as that ridiculous person says in Dickens, and whose name I never could remember. Oh, I forgot—Dickens caricatures nature, doesn’t he, and isn’t read by really cultured people? You will have to educate me up to your level, Jack, and I warn you in advance you will not have time to do it. Yes, I am quite aware that I am talking nonsense, and am on the verge of hysterics, thank you, but I rather like it. It is because I am going to have you all to myself for whatever future there is, and the thought makes me quite drunk. Will you kindly ring for the patrol-wagon, Jack? Jack, are you quite sure you love me? Are you perfectly certain you never loved any one else half so much? No, don’t answer me, for I intend to do all the talking for both of us for the future! I shall tyrannize over you frightfully, and you will like it. All I ask in return is that you will be a good boy—by which I mean a naughty boy—and do solemnly swear, promise and affirm that you will meet me at the side-door at half-past five in the morning, with a portmanteau and the intention of never going back to your wife. You swear it? Thank you so much! Now, I think I would like to cry for a few minutes, and, after that, we will go back to the house, before supper is over and my eyes are perfectly crimson.”
In fact, Mr. Charteris had consented. Patricia was irresistible as she pleaded and mocked and scolded and coaxed and laughed and cried, all in one bewildering breath. Her plan was simple; it was to slip out of Matocton at dawn, and walk to the near-by station. There they would take the train, and snap their fingers at convention. The scheme sounded preposterous in outline, but she demonstrated its practicability in performance. And Mr. Charteris consented.
Rudolph Musgrave sat in the shadow of the cedar with fierce and confused emotions whirling in his soul. He certainly had never thought of this contingency.
“Time was I coveted the woes they
Whose love commemorates them,—I that meant
To get like grace of love then!—and intent
To win as they had done love’s plenitude,
Rapture and havoc, vauntingly I sued
That love like theirs might make a toy of me,
At will caressed, at will (if publicly)
Demolished, as Love found or found not good.
“To-day I am no longer overbrave.
I have a fever,—I that always knew
This hour was certain!—and am too weak to rave,
Too tired to seek (as later I must do)
Tried remedies—time, manhood and the grave—
To drug, abate and banish love of you.”
ALLEN ROSSITER. A Fragment.
When Patricia and Charteris had left the beach, Colonel Musgrave parted the underbrush and stepped down upon the sand He must have air—air and an open place wherein to fight this out.