The Woman Thou Gavest Me eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 708 pages of information about The Woman Thou Gavest Me.

FIFTY-FIFTH CHAPTER

That was the beginning of the end, and when, next day towards noon, my husband came with drowsy eyes to make a kind of ungracious apology, saying he supposed the doctor had been sent for, I said: 

“James, I want you to take me home.”

“Home?  You mean . . .  Castle Raa?”

“Y-es.”

He hesitated, and I began to plead with him, earnestly and eagerly, not to deny me what I asked.

“Take me home, I beg, I pray.”

At length, seeming to think I must be homesick, he said: 

“Well, you know my views about that God-forsaken place, but the season’s nearly at an end, and I don’t mind going back on one condition—­that you raise no objection to my inviting a few friends to liven it up a bit?”

“It is your house,” I said.  “You must do as you please in it.”

“Very good; that’s settled,” he said, getting up to go.  “And I dare say it will do you no harm to be out of the way of all this church-going and confessing to priests, who are always depressing people even when they’re not making mischief.”

Hardly had my husband left me when Alma came into my sitting-room in the most affectionate and insincere of her moods.

“My poor, dear sweet child,” she said.  “If I’d had the least idea you were feeling so badly I shouldn’t have allowed Jimmy to stay another minute at that tiresome reception.  But how good it was of Mr. Conrad to come all that way to see you!  That’s what I call being a friend now!”

Then came the real object of her visit—­I saw it coming.

“I hear you’re to have a house-party at Castle Raa.  Jimmy’s in his room writing piles of invitations.  He has asked me and I should love to go, but of course I cannot do so without you wish it.  Do you?”

What could I say?  What I did say I scarcely know.  I only know that at the next minute Alma’s arms were round my neck, and she was saying: 

“You dear, sweet, unselfish little soul!  Come let me kiss you.”

It was done.  I had committed myself.  After all what right had I to raise myself on a moral pinnacle now?  And what did it matter, anyway?  I was flying from the danger of my own infidelities, not to save my husband from his.

Price had been in the room during this interview and when it was over I was ashamed to look at her.

“I can’t understand you, my lady; I really can’t,” she said.

Next day I wrote a little letter to Martin on the Scotia telling him of our change of plans, but forbidding him to trouble to come up to say good-bye, yet half hoping he would disregard my injunction.

He did.  Before I left my bedroom next morning I heard his voice in the sitting-room talking to Price, who with considerable emphasis was giving her views of Alma.

When I joined him I thought his face (which had grown to be very powerful) looked hard and strained; but his voice was as soft as ever while he said I was doing right in going home and that my native air must be good for me.

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The Woman Thou Gavest Me from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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