At Love's Cost eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 572 pages of information about At Love's Cost.

AT LOVE’S COST

CHAPTER 1

“Until this moment I have never fully realised how great an ass a man can be.  When I think that this morning I scurried through what might have been a decent breakfast, left my comfortable diggings, and was cooped up in a train for seven hours, that I am now driving in a pelting rain through, so far as I can see for the mist, what appears to be a howling wilderness, I ask myself if I am still in possession of my senses.  I ask myself why I should commit such lurid folly.  Last night I was sitting over the fire with a book—­for it was cold, though not so cold as this,” the speaker shivered and dragged the collar of his overcoat still higher—­“at peace with all the world, with Omar purring placidly by my side, and my soul wrapped in that serenity which belongs to a man who has long since rid himself of that inconvenient appendage—­a conscience, and has hit upon the right brand of cigarettes, and now—­”

He paused to sigh, to groan indeed, and shifted himself uneasily in the well-padded seat of the luxurious mail-phaeton.

“When Williams brought me your note, vilely written—­were you sober, Stafford?—­blandly asking me to join you in this mad business, I smiled to myself as I pitched the note on the fire.  Omar smiled too, the very cigarette smiled.  I said to myself I would see you blowed first; that nothing would induce me to join you, that I’d read about the lakes too much and too often to venture upon them in the early part of June; in fact, had no desire to see the lakes at any time or under any conditions.  I told Omar that I would see you in the lowest pit of Tophet before I would go with you to—­whatever the name of this place is.  And yet, here I am.”

The speaker paused in his complaint to empty a pool water from his mackintosh, and succeeded—­in turning it over his own leg.

He groaned again, and continued.

“And yet, here I am.  My dear Stafford, I do not wish to upbraid you; I am simply making to myself a confession of weakness which would be pitiable in a stray dog, but which in a man of my years, with my experience of the world and reputation for common sense, is simply criminal.  I do not wish to reproach you; I am quite aware that no reproach, not even the spectacle of my present misery would touch your callous and, permit me to frankly add, your abominably selfish nature; but I do want to ask quite calmly and without any display of temper:  what the blazes you wanted to come this way round, and why you wanted me with you?”

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At Love's Cost from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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