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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 411 pages of information about Captivity.

CHAPTER XXVI

Marcella lay afloat on a warm, buoyant sea of enchantment, her eyes closed; life seemed in suspension; she had never, in her life, known pain of any severity until a few hours before; it had appalled, astonished her.  She felt it unfair that a body which could quiver to the swift tingle of frosty mornings on the hills, the buffetings and dashings of the North Sea waves, the still glamour of an aurora evening on a house-top, and the inarticulate ecstasy of love, should be so racked.  But as she put out her hand across the bed and felt the faint stirrings of the child at her side she forgot those few nightmare hours as a saint, bowing his head for his golden crown at the hands of his Lord, must forget the flames of the stake, the hot reek from the lion’s slavering jaws.  She looked across to Louis, who was sleeping heavily in his hammock; he had found time to tell her that, for the first time, he had held temptation literally in his hand and been able to conquer it.  And she felt that Castle Lashcairn was not big enough to hold all the kindliness and happiness that seemed to be focussing upon it from all the round horizon.  Faith in the logical inevitability of good had changed to certainty:  it seemed to her, now, that faith was only an old coward afraid to face fact.  She was looking at the world from her mountaintop that night; it seemed to her that it could never be the same again for anyone in it, since she herself felt so different, so exalted.

The next two days brought complications.  When Louis, coming in at noon, all smelling of sunshine and wind and smoke, kneeled beside the bed for a moment and, peeping underneath the folded sheet at the pink, screwed-up face of his son, happened to touch her breast with his hand, she was bathed in a sea of pain.  Later in the day Mrs. Twist said he would have to go to the township to get a feeding-bottle for the baby; he was inclined to dispute the necessity for it, but he set off at once, for the child, fed with sugar and water in a spoon, kept up a dissatisfied wailing.  Marcella forgot to be anxious about him, so completely had she sponged fear from her mind.  When, at breakfast-time next morning, Jerry came in with the bottle, she guessed that Louis was washing off the dust of his swift travel before he came to see her.  In the absorption of feeding the child and talking to Mrs. Twist she almost forgot him; it was nightfall next day before she saw him, and then he looked haggard and pinched, and she was almost frantic with fear; when he was away from her she never thought he was drunk; always she thought he had met with an accident.  He told her, between sobs and writhings, that once again he had failed, but he had been too ashamed to come to her until he had slept off some of the traces of his failure.  Seeing him buying a baby’s bottle at the store the men of the township had chaffed him into “wetting the baby’s head,” and he had forgotten

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