A Woman Named Smith eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 231 pages of information about A Woman Named Smith.

“Not in normal circumstances; not when he can give as much as he takes.”

“Hynds House,” I said, “is costing me a steep and bitter price, Mr. Jelnik!”

“Do I not also pay?” he asked fiercely.

“Oh, you have your pride!” said I, wearily; “Hynds pride!”

“A poor enough possession, Sophy, but all that remains to me,” he said gently.  “Is it a light thing for Nicholas Jelnik to say to the woman he loves, ‘I cannot marry you:  I am a beggar’?  Is it such a small sacrifice to give you up, Sophy?”

“It would appear so.”

“You crucify me!” he said, in a choking voice.  “Good God, don’t you understand that I love you?”

“I don’t understand anything, except that you are going away from me.  And I have waited for you all my life,” I said.

“And I for you! and I for you!” he said passionately.  “Don’t make it too hard for me, Sophy!”

“If you go away from me,” I gasped, “I think I shall die.  Nicholas—­I can’t bear it!  It was easier for me when I thought you loved somebody else.  But now that I know you love me” and I paused.

He took a step forward, but stopped.  His arms fell to his sides.

“Not as a beggar!” he said.  “Not as a beggar!  Never that, for Nicholas Jelnik!  I love you too much for that, Sophy.  I love you not only for yourself, but for my own best self, too, my dearest.”

For a moment he stood there, regarding me fixedly.  It was a long look, of suffering, of love, of pride, of unyielding resolve.  Then he lifted my hand to his lips, bowed, and left me.

I sat staring over the garden.  I wondered if, somewhere on the other side of things, Great-Aunt Sophronisba wasn’t snickering.

CHAPTER XX

HARBOR

“My faith, but I’m glad you’re entirely well again, Sophy!” wrote The Author, in his small, fine, hypercritical script.  “You make the world a pleasanter place by being alive in it.  People like you should inculcate in themselves the fixed and unalterable habit of being alive.  They should firmly refuse to be anything else.  I call this to your attention, in the hope that you will see your bounden duty and do it.

“When I thought you were going to quit, I ran away.  That was a calamity I could not stand by and witness, without disaster.  However, Jelnik stayed!

“Your nurse (I do not like Miss Ransome, though I respect, admire, and fear her.  Her emotions are carbolized, her heart is sterilized, her personality has the mathematical perfection of something turned out by a super-machine:  like, say, the last word in machine-guns.  None of the divine imperfection of your hand-wrought, artist-stuff there!  I forgive her for existing, because she is intelligent and useful, two things that, without lying like a Christian and a gentleman, one may not say of many women, and seldom of one woman at the same time), your nurse gave me

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A Woman Named Smith from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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