Sacred and Profane Love eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 183 pages of information about Sacred and Profane Love.

‘No,’ he answered.  ‘But I have heard of them.’

‘Really!’ I said, keeping my tone free from irony.  ’Well, I will not bring you one of my books.’

‘Why not?’

I looked hard at the door in front of me.

‘For you I will be nothing but a woman,’ I said.

And I fled down the stairs and past the concierge swiftly into the street, as anxious as a thief to escape notice.  I got a fiacre at once, and drove away.  I would not analyze my heart.  I could not.  I could but savour the joy, sweet and fresh, that welled up in it as from some secret source.  I was so excited that I observed nothing outside myself, and when the cab stopped in front of my hotel, it seemed to me that the journey had occupied scarcely a few seconds.  Do you imagine I was saddened by the painful spectacle of Diaz’ collapse in life?  No!  I only knew that he needed sympathy, and that I could give it to him with both hands.  I could give, give!  And the last thing that the egotist in me told me before it expired was that I was worthy to give.  My longing to assuage the lot of Diaz became almost an anguish.

III

I returned at about half-past five, bright and eager, with vague anticipations.  I seemed to have become used to the house.  It no longer offended me, and I had no shame in entering it.  I put the key into the door of Diaz’ flat with a clear, high sense of pleasure.  He had entrusted me with his key; I could go in as I pleased; I need have no fear of inconveniencing him, of coming at the wrong moment.  It seemed wonderful!  And as I turned the key and pushed open the door my sole wish was to be of service to him, to comfort him, to render his life less forlorn.

‘Here I am!’ I cried, shutting the door.

There was no answer.

In the smaller of the two tiny sitting-rooms the piano, which had been closed, was open, and I saw that it was a Pleyel.  But both rooms were empty.

‘Are you still in bed, then?’ I said.

There was still no answer.

I went cautiously into the bedroom.  It, too, was empty.  The bed was made, and the flat generally had a superficial air of tidiness.  Evidently the charwoman had been and departed; and doubtless Diaz had gone out, to return immediately.  I sat down in the chair in which I had spent most of the night.  I took off my hat and put it by the side of a tiny satchel which I had brought, and began to wait for him.  How delicious it would be to open the door to him!  He would notice that I had taken off my hat, and he would be glad.  What did the future, the immediate future, hold for me?

A long time I waited, and then I yawned heavily, and remembered that for several days I had had scarcely any sleep.  I shut my eyes to relieve the tedium of waiting.  When I reopened them, dazed, and startled into sudden activity by mysterious angry noises, it was quite dark.  I tried to recall where I was, and to decide what the noises could be.  I regained my faculties with an effort.  The noises were a beating on the door.

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Sacred and Profane Love from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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