Vain Fortune eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 171 pages of information about Vain Fortune.

‘This is very serious,’ he said.  And then, at the end of a long silence, he said again, ‘This is very serious—­perhaps far more serious than we think.’

’Not more serious than I think.  I ought to have spoken about it to you before; but the subject is a delicate one.  She hardly sleeps at all at night; she cries sometimes for hours; she works herself up into such fits of nervousness that she doesn’t know what she is saying,—­accuses me of killing her, and then repents, declaring that I am the only one who has ever cared for her, and begs of me not to leave her.  I do assure you it is becoming very serious.’

’Have you any proposal to make regarding her?  I need hardly say that I’m ready to carry out any idea of yours.’

‘You know what the cause of it is, I suppose?’

‘I do not know; I am not certain.  I daresay I’m mistaken.’

’No, you are not; I wish you were—­that is to say, unless——­ But I was saying that it is most serious.  The child’s health is affected; she is working herself up into an awful state of mind; she is losing all self-control.  I’m sure I’m the last person who would say anything against her; but the time has come to speak out.  Well, the other day, when we were at the Eastwicks, you took the chair next to mine when she left the room.  When she returned, she saw that you had changed your place, and she said to Ethel Eastwick, “Oh, I’m fainting.  I cannot go in there; they are together.”  Ethel had to take her up to her room.  Well, this morbid sensitiveness is most unhealthy.  If I walk out on the terrace, she follows, thinking that I have made an appointment to meet you.  Jealousy of me fills up her whole mind.  I assure you that I am most seriously alarmed.  Something occurs every day—­trifles, no doubt; and in anybody else they would mean nothing, but in her they mean a great deal.’

‘But what do you propose?’

’Unless you intend to marry her—­forgive me for speaking so plain—­there is only one thing to do.  I must leave.’

’No, no; you must not leave!  She could not live alone with me.  But does she want you to leave?’

’No; that is the worst of it.  I have proposed it; she will not hear of it; to mention the subject is to provoke a scene.  She is afraid if I left that you would come and see me; and the very thought of my escaping her vigilance is intolerable.’

‘It is very strange.’

’Yes, it is very strange; but, opposed though she be to all thoughts of it, I must leave.’

’As a favour I ask you to stay.  Do me this service, I beg of you.  I have set my heart on finishing my play this autumn.  If it isn’t finished now, it never will be finished; and your leaving would create so much trouble that all thought of work would be out of the question.  Emily could not remain alone here with me.  I should have to find another companion for her; and you know how difficult that would be.  I’m worried quite enough as it is.’  A look of pain passed through his eyes, and Mrs. Bentley wondered what he he could mean.  ‘No,’ he said, taking her hands, ’we are good friends—­are we not?  Do me this service.  Stay with me until I finish this play; then, if things do not mend, go, if you like, but not now.  Will you promise me?’

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Vain Fortune from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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