Ailsa Paige eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 337 pages of information about Ailsa Paige.

To know that she, too, had been fighting herself—­that she, too, feared passion, stirred every brutal fibre in him to a fiercer recklessness that halted him in his tracks under the calm stars.  But what held him there was something else, perhaps what he believed had died in him; for he did not even turn again.  And at last, through the dark and throbbing silence he moved on again at random, jaws set.

The mental strain was beginning to distort everything.  Once or twice he laughed all to himself, nodding mysteriously, his tense white face stamped with a ghastly grimace of self-contempt.  Then an infernal, mocking curiosity stirred him: 

What kind of a thing was he anyway?  A moment since he had loosed the brute in himself, leaving it to her to re-chain or let it carry her with him to destruction.  And yet he was too fastidious to marry her under false pretences!

“Gods of Laughter!  What in hell—­what sort of thing am I?” he asked aloud, and lurched on, muttering insanely to himself, laughing, talking under his breath, hearing nothing, seeing nothing but her wistful eyes, gazing sorrowfully out of the night.

At a dark crossing he ran blindly into a moving horse; was pushed aside by its cloaked rider with a curse; stood dazed, while his senses slowly returned—­first, hearing—­and his ears were filled with the hollow trample of many horses; then vision, and in the dark street before him he saw the column of shadowy horsemen riding slowly in fours, knee to knee, starlight sparkling on spur and bit and sabre guard.

Officers walked their lean horses beside the column.  One among them drew bridle near him, calling out: 

“Have you the right time?”

Berkley looked at his watch.

“Midnight.”

“Thank you, friend.”

Berkley stepped to the curb-stone:  “What regiment is that?”

“Eighth New York.”

“Leaving?”

“Going into camp.  Yorkville.”

Berkley said:  “Do you want a damned fool?”

“The companies are full of fools. . . .  We can stand a few first-class men.  Come up to camp to-morrow, friend.  If you can pass the surgeons I guess it will be all right.”

And he prodded his tired horse forward along the slowly moving column of fours.

CHAPTER X

Her hatred and horror of him gave her no peace.  Angry, incensed, at moments almost beside herself with grief and shame and self-contempt, she awaited the letter which he must write—­the humble and hopeless effort for pardon which she never, never would answer or even in her own soul grant.

Day after day she brooded, intent, obsessed, fiercely pondering his obliteration.

But no letter came.

No letter came that week, nor Monday, nor at the end of the next week, nor the beginning of the next.

Wrath, at night, had dried her eyes where she lay crying in her humiliation; wrath diminished as the days passed; scorn became less rigid, anger grew tremulous.  Then what was lurking near her pillow lifted a pallid head.  Fear!

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
Ailsa Paige from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook