And then the tears came and I cried like a child.
I was far from well next morning and Price wished to keep me in bed, but I got up immediately when I heard that my husband was talking of returning to London.
Our journey was quite uneventful. We three sat together in the railway carriage and in the private cabin on the steamer, with no other company than Bimbo, my husband’s terrier, and Prue, Alma’s Pekinese spaniel.
Although he made no apology for his conduct of the day before my husband was quiet and conciliatory, and being sober he looked almost afraid, as if telling himself that he might have to meet my father soon—the one man in the world of whom he seemed to stand in fear.
Alma looked equally frightened, but she carried off her nervousness with a great show of affection, saying she was sorry I was feeling “badly,” that France and the South did not agree with me, and that I should be ever so much better when I was “way up north.”
We put up at a well-known hotel near Trafalgar Square, the same that in our girlhood had been the subject of Alma’s dreams of future bliss, and I could not help observing that while my husband was selecting our rooms she made a rather ostentatious point of asking for an apartment on another floor.
It was late when we arrived, so I went to bed immediately, being also anxious to be alone that I might think out my course of action.
I was then firmly resolved that one way or other my life with my husband should come to an end; that I would no longer be befouled by the mire he had been dragging me through; that I should live a clean life and drink a pure draught, and oh, how my very soul seemed to thirst for it!
This was the mood in which I went to sleep, but when I awoke in the morning, almost before the dawn, the strength of my resolution ebbed away. I listened to the rumble of the rubber-bound wheels of the carriages and motor-cars that passed under my window and, remembering that I had not a friend in London, I felt small and helpless. What could I do alone? Where could I turn for assistance?
Instinctively I knew it would be of no use to appeal to my father, for though it was possible that he might knock my husband down, it was not conceivable that he would encourage me to separate from him.
In my loneliness and helplessness I felt like a shipwrecked sailor, who, having broken away from the foundering vessel that would have sucked him under, is yet tossing on a raft with the threatening ocean on every side, and looking vainly for a sail.
At last I thought of Mr. Curphy, my father’s advocate, and decided to send a telegram to him asking for the name of some solicitor in London to whom I could apply for advice.
To carry out this intention I went down to the hall about nine o’clock, when people were passing into the breakfast-room, and visitors were calling at the bureau, and livened page-boys were shouting names in the corridors.