But he only looked at me for a moment in silence, and then burst into a flood of tears, and turned and ran out of the house.
Let who will say his tears were unmanly. To me they were the bitter cry of a great heart, and I wanted to follow him and say, “Take me. Do what you like with me. I am yours.”
I did not do so. I sat a long time where he had left me and then I went into my room and locked the door.
I did not cry. Unjust and cruel as his reproaches had been, I began to have a strange wild joy in them. I knew that he would not have insulted me like that if he had not loved me to the very verge of madness itself.
Hours passed. Price came tapping at my door to ask if she should lock up the house—meaning the balcony. I answered “No, go to bed.”
I heard the deadened thud of Martin’s footsteps on the lawn passing to and fro. Sometimes they paused under my window and then I had a feeling, amounting to certainty, that he was listening to hear if I was sobbing, and that if I had been he would have broken down my bedroom door to get to me.
At length I heard him come up the stone stairway, shut and bolt the balcony door, and walk heavily across the corridor to his own room.
The day was then dawning. It was four o’clock.
I awoke on Wednesday morning in a kind of spiritual and physical fever. Every conflicting emotion which a woman can experience in the cruel battle between her religion and her love seemed to flood body and soul—joy, pain, pride, shame, fear, rapture—so that I determined (not without cause) to make excuse of a headache to stay in bed.
Although it was the last day of Martin’s visit, and I charged myself with the discourtesy of neglecting him, as well as the folly of losing the few remaining hours of his company, I thought I could not without danger meet him again.
I was afraid of him, but I was still more afraid of myself.
Recalling my last sight of his face as he ran out of the house, and knowing well the desire of my own heart, I felt that if I spent another day in his company it would be impossible to say what might happen.
As a result of this riot of emotions I resolved to remain all day in my room, and towards evening to send out a letter bidding him good-bye and good-luck. It would be a cold end to a long friendship and my heart was almost frozen at the thought of it, but it was all I dared do and I saw no help for it.
But how little did I know what was written in the Book of Fate for me!
First came Price on pretence of bathing my forehead, and she bombarded me with accounts of Martin’s anxiety. When he had heard that I was ill he had turned as white as if sixteen ounces of blood had been taken out of him. It nearly broke me up to hear that, but Price, who was artful, only laughed and said: