The Keeper of the Door eBook

Ethel May Dell
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 677 pages of information about The Keeper of the Door.
Olga had grown up, and was shedding her illusions one by one.  Nick was a man and she was a woman.  Therefore it followed as a natural sequence that though she was fully capable of understanding him, she herself was—­and must ever remain—­a being beyond his comprehension.  Not superior to him; Olga never aspired to be that.  But with her woman’s knowledge she realized that even Nick had his limitations.  There were certain corners of her soul which he could never penetrate.  He would have understood the wild crying of her heart, but her steady stifling of that crying would have been beyond him.  Simply he stood on another plane, and he would not understand that her heart must break before she could listen to its passionate entreaty.  Nor could she explain herself to him.  She belonged to the inexplicable and unreasonable race called woman.  Her motives and emotions were hidden, and she could never hope to make them understood even by the shrewdest of men.

So she veiled her sorrow from him, little guessing how the vigilant eyes took in that also when they did not apparently so much as glance her way.

On the morning of the day on which Sir Reginald was to arrive, he kept her waiting for breakfast, a most unusual occurrence.  Olga was occupied with a letter from her father, one of his brief, kindly epistles that she valued for their very rarity; and it was not till this was finished that she realized the lateness of the hour.

Then in some surprise she went along the verandah in search of him.

His window stood open as usual.  She paused outside it.  “Nick, aren’t you coming?”

There was no reply to her call, and she was about to repeat it when Kasur the khitmutgar came along the verandah behind her.

“Miss sahib, Ratcliffe sahib has not yet come back from the city,” he said.

Olga turned in astonishment.  “The city, Kasur!  How long has he been there?  When did he go?”

The man looked at her with the deferential vagueness which only the Oriental can express.  “Miss sahib, how should I know?  My lord goes in the night while his servant is asleep.”

“In the night!” Again incredulously she repeated his words.  “And to the city!  Kasur, are you sure?”

Kasur became more vague.  “Perhaps he goes to the cantonments, Miss sahib.  How should I know whither he goes?”

It was an unsatisfactory conversation, obviously leading in every direction but the one desired.  Olga turned from him, impatient and perplexed.  She went slowly back round the corner of the bungalow to the breakfast-table, set in the shade of the cluster-roses that climbed over the verandah, and sat down before it with a sinking heart.  What did this mean?  Was it true that Nick went nightly and by stealth to the city?  What did he do there?  And how came he to be there at this hour?  Moment by moment her uneasiness grew.  The conviction that Nick was in danger came down upon her like a bird of evil omen, and inaction became intolerable.  She turned in her chair with the intention of calling to Kasur to order her horse that she might go in search of him.  But in that instant a voice spoke to her from the compound immediately below her, arresting the words on her lips,—­a whining, ingratiating voice.

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The Keeper of the Door from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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