This occupied him until we ran into Blackwater, and then he dropped the cushion and put his head out, although the rain was falling heavily, to catch the first glimpse of the water in the bay.
It was in terrific turmoil. My heart leapt up at the sight of it. My husband swore.
We drew up on the drenched and naked pier. My husband’s valet, in waterproofs, came to the sheltered side of the car, and, shouting above the noises of the wind in the rigging of the steamer, he said:
“Captain will not sail to-day, my lord. Inshore wind. Says he couldn’t get safely out of the harbour.”
My husband swore violently. I was unused to oaths at that time and they cut me like whipcord, but all the same my pulse was bounding joyfully.
“Bad luck, my lord, but only one thing to do now,” shouted the valet.
“What’s that?” said my husband, growling.
“Sleep in Blackwater to-night, in hopes of weather mending in the morning.”
Anticipating this course, he had already engaged rooms for us at the “Fort George.”
My heart fell, and I waited for my husband’s answer. I was stifling.
“All right, Hobson. If it must be, it must,” he answered.
I wanted to speak, but I did not know what to say. There seemed to be nothing that I could say.
A quarter of an hour afterwards we arrived at the hotel, where the proprietor, attended by the manageress and the waiters, received us with rather familiar smiles.
When I began to write I determined to tell the truth and the whole truth. But now I find that the whole truth will require that I should invade some of the most sacred intimacies of human experience. At this moment I feel as if I were on the threshold of one of the sanctuaries of a woman’s life, and I ask myself if it is necessary and inevitable that I should enter it.
I have concluded that it is necessary and inevitable—necessary to the sequence of my narrative, inevitable for the motive with which I am writing it.
Four times already I have written what is to follow. In the first case I found that I had said too much. In the second I had said too little. In the third I was startled and shocked by the portrait I had presented of myself and could not believe it to be true. In the fourth I saw with a thrill of the heart that the portrait was not only true, but too true. Let me try again.
I entered our rooms at the hotel, my husband’s room and mine, with a sense of fear, almost of shame. My sensations at that moment had nothing in common with the warm flood of feeling which comes to a woman when she finds herself alone for the first time with the man she loves, in a little room which holds everything that is of any account to her in the world. They were rather those of a young girl who, walking with a candle through the dark corridors of an empty house at night, is suddenly confronted by a strange face. I was the young girl with the candle; the strange face was my husband’s.