Sacred and Profane Love eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 234 pages of information about Sacred and Profane Love.
caresses.  I enveloped Frank with soft glances, I dazed him with glances.  He ordered a wine which he said was fit for gods, and the waiter brought it reverently and filled our glasses, with a ritual of precautions.  Later during the dinner Frank asked me if I would prefer champagne.  I said, ‘No, of course not.’  But he said, ‘I think you would,’ and ordered some.  ‘Admit,’ he said, ‘that you prefer champagne.’  ‘Well, of course,’ I replied.  But I drank very little champagne, lest I should be too happy.  Frank’s wonderful face grew delicately flushed.  The room resounded with discreet chatter, and the tinkle of glass and silver and porcelain.  The upper part of it remained in shadow, but every table was a centre of rosy light, illuminating faces and jewels and napery.  And in my sweet illusion I thought that every face had found the secret of joy, and that even the old had preserved it.  Pleasure reigned.  Pleasure was the sole goddess.  And how satisfying then was the worship of her!  Life had no inconveniences, no dark spots, no pitfalls.  The gratification of the senses, the appeasing of appetites that instantly renewed themselves—­this was the business of the soul.  And as the wine sank lower in the bottles, and we cooled our tongues with ices, and the room began to empty, expectation gleamed and glittered in our eyes.  At last, except a group of men smoking and talking in a corner, we were the only diners left.

‘Shall we go?’ Frank said, putting a veil of cigarette smoke between us.

I trembled.  I was once more the young and timid girl.  I could not speak.  I nodded.

In the hall was Vicary, talking to the head-porter.  He saw us and started.

‘What!  Vicary!’ I murmured, suddenly cooled.

‘I want to speak to you,’ said Vicary.  ‘Where can we go?’

‘This way,’ Frank replied.

We went to our sitting-room, silent and apprehensive.

‘Sit down,’ said Vicary, shutting the door and standing against it.

He was wearing a tourist suit, with a gray overcoat, and his grizzled hair was tumbling over his hard, white face.

‘What’s the matter?’ Frank asked.  ‘Anything wrong?’

‘Look here, you two,’ said Vicary, ’I don’t want to discuss your position, and I’m the last person in this world to cast the first stone; but it falls to me to do it.  I was coming down to Nice to stay with my sisters, and I’ve come a little further.  My sisters wired me they had seen you.  I’ve been to Mentone, and driven here from there.  I hoped I should get here earlier than the newspapers, and I have done, it seems.’

‘Earlier than the newspapers?’ Frank repeated, standing up.

‘Try to keep calm,’ Vicary continued.  ’Your wife’s body was found in the Thames at seven o’clock last night.  The doctors say it had been in the water for forty-eight hours.  Your servants thought she had gone to you.  But doubtless some thoughtful person had told her that you two were wandering about Europe together.’

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Sacred and Profane Love from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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