Richard Vandermarck eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 262 pages of information about Richard Vandermarck.

“And you will take care of me?” I cried, stretching out my arms toward him, with a sudden overwhelming sense of my loneliness and destitution.

“Yes, Pauline, to the end of my life or of yours; as if you were my sister or almost my child.”

“Dear Richard,” I whispered, as I buried my face on his arm, “if it were not for you I should not live through this dreadful time.  I hope I shall die soon; as soon as I am better.  But till I do die, I hope you will be good to me, and love me.”  And I pressed his hand against my cheek and lips, like the poor, frantic, grief-bewildered child that I was.

At this moment there came a sound of movement in the stables:  I heard one of the heavy doors thrown open, and a man leading a horse across the stable-floor. (The windows were open and the night was very still.) Richard started, and looked uneasily at his watch, stepping to the door to get the light.

“How late is it?” I faltered.

“Half-past three,” he said, turning his eyes away, as if he could not bear the sight of my face.  I do not like to remember the dreadful moments that followed this:  the misery that I put upon Richard by my passionate, ungoverned grief.  I threw myself upon the floor, I clung to his knees, I prayed him to delay the hour of going—­another hour, another day.  I said all the wild and frantic things that were in my heart, as he closed the library-door and led me to my room.

“Try to say your prayers, Pauline,” was all he could answer me.

I did try to say them, as I knelt by the window, and saw in the dull, gray dawn, those two carriages drive slowly from the door.

Richard went away alone.  Kilian indeed came down-stairs just as he was starting.

Sophie had awakened, and called him into her room for a few moments.

Then he came down, and I saw him get into the carriage alone, and motion the man to drive on, after that other—­which stood waiting a few rods farther on.

CHAPTER XVIII.

A JOURNEY.

     He, full of modesty and truth,
     Loved much, hoped little, and desired nought.

     Tasso.

     Fresh grief can occupy itself
       With its own recent smart;
     It feeds itself on outward things,
       And not on its own heart.

     Faber

A thing which surprises me very much in looking over those days of suffering, is, that during that day a frightful irritability is the emotion that I most remember—­an irritability of feeling, not of expression:  for I lay quite still upon the bed all day, and only answered, briefly and simply, the questions of Sophie and the maid.

I could not sleep:  it was many hours since I had slept:  but nothing seemed further from possibility than sleeping.  The lightest sound enraged my nerves:  the approach of any one made me frantic.  I lay with my hands crushed together, and my teeth against each other, whenever Sophie entered the room.

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Richard Vandermarck from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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