“Because you have placed me in an intolerable position, and have subjected me to insult and annoyance past all bearing, I ask you to meet me in London at the earliest opportunity. I feel that I have a right to appeal to you for some protection against the insults to which your conduct has exposed me. I write in the hope that you may possibly possess some of the generosity which you have several times denied that I can lay claim to. I will keep whatever appointment you may make at any time and any place,
And this letter she addressed to Hugh Alston at Hurst Dormer, and presently went out, bareheaded, into the roadway, and with her own hands dropped it into the post-box.
“I shall forget her”
Restless and unhappy, Hugh Alston had returned to Hurst Dormer, to find there that everything was flat, stale, and unprofitable. He had an intense love for the home of his birth and his boyhood, but just now it seemed to mean less to him than it ever had before. He watched moodily the workmen at their work on those alterations and restorations that he had been planning with interested enthusiasm for many months past. Now he did not seem to care whether they were done or no.
“Why,” he demanded of the vision of her that came to him of nights, “why the dickens don’t you leave me alone? I don’t want you. I don’t want to remember you. I am content to forget that I ever saw you, and I wish to Heaven you would leave me alone!”
But she was always there.
He tried to reason with himself; he attempted to analyse Love.
“One cannot love a thing,” he told himself, “unless one has every reason to believe that it is perfection. A man, when he is deeply in love with a woman, must regard her as his ideal of womanhood. In his eyes she must be perfection; she must be flawless, even her faults he will not recognise as faults, but as perfections that are perhaps a little beyond his understanding—that’s all right. Now in the case of Joan, I see in her nothing to admire beyond the loveliness of her face, the grace of her, the sweet voice of her and—oh, her whole personality! But I know her to be mean-spirited and uncharitable, unforgiving, ungenerous. I know her to be all these, and yet—”
“Lady Linden, sir, and Miss Marjorie Linden!”
They had not met for weeks. Her ladyship had driven over in the large, comfortable carriage. “Give me a horse or, better still, two horses—things with brains, created by the Almighty, and not a thing that goes piff, piff, piff, and leaves an ungodly smell along the roads, to say nothing of the dust!”
So she had come here behind two fine horses, sleek and overfed.
“Hello!” she said.
“Hello!” said Hugh, and kissed her, and so the feud between them was ended.