Joanna Godden eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 448 pages of information about Joanna Godden.

She began to think of the times, which now seemed so far off, when she herself had sought a man’s kisses.  Half-ashamed she went back to stolen meetings—­in a barn—­behind a rick—­in the elvish shadow of some skew-blown thorn.  Just kisses ... not love, for love had been dead in her then....  But those kisses had been sweet, she remembered them, she could feel them on her lips ... oh, she could love again now—­she could give and take kisses now.

The band was playing a rich, thick, drawling melody, full of the purple night and the warm air.  The lovers round the bandstand seemed to sway to it and draw closer to each other.  Joanna looked down into her lap, for her eyes were full of tears.  She regretted passionately the days that were past—­those light loves which had not been able to live in the shadow of Martin’s memory.  Oh, why had he taught her to love and then made it impossible for her ever to love again?—­till it was too late, till she was a middle-aged woman to whom no man came....  It was not likely that anyone would want her now—­her light lovers all lived now in substantial wedlock, the well-to-do farmers who had proposed to her in the respectful way of business had now taken to themselves other wives.  The young men looked to women of their own age, to Ellen’s pale, soft beauty ... once again she envied Ellen her loves, good and evil, and shame was in her heart.  Then she lifted her eyes and saw Martin coming towards her.


In the darkness, lit only now by the lamp-dazzled moonlight, and in the mist of her own tears, the man before her was exactly like Martin, in build, gait, colouring and expression.  Her moment of recognition stood out clear, quite distinct from the realization of impossibility which afterwards engulfed it.  She unclasped her hands and half rose in her seat—­the next minute she fell back.  “Reckon I’m crazy,” she thought to herself.

Then she was startled to realize that the man had sat down beside her.  Her heart beat quickly.  Though she no longer confused him with Martin, the image of Martin persisted in her mind ... how wonderfully like him he was ... the very way he walked....

“I saw you give me the glad eye ...” not the way he talked, certainly.

There was a terrible silence.

“Are you going to pretend you didn’t?”

Joanna turned on him the tear-filled eyes he had considered glad.  She blinked the tears out recklessly on to her cheek, and opened her mouth to reduce him to the level of the creeping things upon the earth....  But the mouth remained open and speechless.  She could not look him in the face and still feel angry.  Though now she would no longer have taken him for Martin, the resemblance still seemed to her startling.  He had the same rich eyes—­with an added trifle of impudence under the same veiling, womanish lashes, the same black sweep of hair from a rather low forehead, the same graceful setting of the head, though he had not Martin’s breadth of shoulder or deceiving air of strength.

Project Gutenberg
Joanna Godden from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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