“What rubbish! If you hadn’t done it to me I would have done it to you,” she said easily.
“Don’t you see how hopeless it is? The very first time I go near whisky, I want it. And this happens. I was a madman to-night. It means that we’ve got to stick here for the rest of our lives. I daren’t even go to the store to fetch things for you when you’re ill. I have to hide in a hole like a fox when the dogs are after it.”
“After all, is it so very horrible here, Louis?” she whispered. “I think it’s been heaven. Our Castle, and the clearing—and next month my seeds that Dr. Angus sent will be coming up. And the baby, Louis! Just think of the millions of things we’ve got!”
But he knew better than she did the torment of his weakness and refused to be comforted. He was near suicide that night; he too had been happy, happier than ever in his tormented, unfriended life before. He had the terrible torture of knowing that it was he who had brought the cloud into their sky; he had the terror before him, with him, of knowing that he would keep on bringing clouds, all the more black because they both so loved the sunshine.
And she, when she undressed, sick and faint but comforted with the thought that once more a fight was over, blew the light out quickly so that he should not see the ugly purple mark of the pickaxe.
She usually slept with her nightgown unfastened so that the cool winds should blow over her through the trellis of the window. To-night she muffled herself up tightly, and when he came in from a strenuous ten minutes in the lake, feeling once more as though she had sent him to dip in Jordan, she pretended to be asleep. Seeing her so unusually wrapped up, he thought she was cold, and fetched a blanket to cover her. She dared not yield to her impulse to hold out her arms to him and draw his aching head on to her breast for fear the bruise should grieve him.
Once more came peace, so sunlit and tender that it seemed as though they had wandered into a valley of Avilion where even the echoes of storms could not come, and doves brooded softly. They talked sometimes now of the coming of their son; Louis, once he had got over his conventional horror of such a proceeding, said that she would be as safe in Mrs. Twist’s care, with him hovering in the background, as though she had gone to the nursing home in Sydney, as he had suggested at first.
“I shall funk awfully to know you’re going through it, old lady,” he told her. “You know nothing about it yet. I’ve seen this thing happen dozens of times, and it’s much worse than you imagine.”