Paradise Garden eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 271 pages of information about Paradise Garden.
everything.  But the impression had grown in me with the minutes that all this like everything else she did was false—­false penitence, false contrition, false tears, false love and now false passion.  She was a mere shell, a beautiful shell in which one hears the faint murmurs of sweet music, echoes of sounds which might have been but were not.  These were the sounds that Jerry heard, echoes of some earlier incarnation in which spiritual beauty had been his fetich.  And now, he stood apart, broken, miserable.

“Jerry,” I heard her call again softly, “I am not afraid.”

That was it.  I understood now.  What she loved was fear.  But Jerry would not come back.  I heard his voice faintly.

“We must go, Marcia.”

“Why?”

“I have learned; we have no right here—­alone, you and I. It’s what—­what you accused Una of.”

“But you and I—­Jerry!  Am I not different from Una?  I have rights.  She has none.  I’ve given them to you, and you to me.”

“You will marry me, soon?”

“Not if you’re going to be so—­so—­er—­inhospitable.”

He came forward quickly.

“You know I don’t mean that.  Would you have me less considerate of your reputation, your peace of mind, than I am of Una’s?  I want you to understand how deeply I respect you—­that I want to treat you with tenderness, with delicacy, with gentle devotion.”

I heard her sigh.  I’m sure if Jerry’s back had been turned she must have yawned.  She rose and I heard her slow footsteps join his.

“How you disappoint me!” I heard her murmur and then more faintly:  “How terribly you disappoint me!  To analyze one’s feelings!  To think of conventions!  Now!  What are you?”

“Marcia!”

I heard their voices fading into the distance and peered forth.  They were walking slowly down the path, away from me.  I stirred cautiously, straightened my stiffened legs, rose painfully, and then carefully made my way farther into the forest, through which I plunged headlong, eager to escape the sight of that accursed rock and its harrowing sounds.  I had not been far wrong in my estimate of her and of Jerry.  I would to God he had strangled her.

CHAPTER XXIII

THE ENEMY’S COUNTRY

Una and her mother did not come to Horsham Manor during the following week, and it was early in June before Jerry ordered the rooms to be prepared for them.  Jack Ballard, too, having at last found Newport irksome, promised to make up the house-party.

It did not seem to me that Jerry was especially overjoyed at the prospect of these guests.  During the week or more that followed his encounter with Marcia in the woods, he had reverted to his former habits of strolling aimlessly about when he wasn’t at Briar Hills or in town, at times cheerful enough; at others obstinately morose.  But he did not drink.  Whatever the differences between us, he evidently

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Paradise Garden from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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