The Vehement Flame eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 364 pages of information about The Vehement Flame.

After a while she said:  “There’s nothing wrong in it.  I have a right to love him!  He’ll never know.  How funny that I never knew—­until to-night!  Yet I’ve felt this way for ever so long.  I think since that time at Fern Hill, when he was so bothered and wouldn’t tell me what was the matter.”  Yes; it was strange that now, when some stabbing instinct had made her know that Maurice was not her “perfec’ gentil knight,” that same instinct should make her know that she loved him!...  Not with the old love; not with the love that could overflow into words, the love that had kissed him when he had been “bothered”!  “I can never kiss him again,” she thought.  She did not love him, now, “next to father and mother—­dear darlings!” And when she said that, Edith knew that the “darlings” were of her past.  “I love them next to Maurice,” she thought, smiling faintly.  “Well, he will never know it!  Nobody will ever know it....  I’ll just keep on loving him as long as I live.”  She had no doubt about that; and she did not drop into the self-consciousness of saying, “I am wronging Eleanor.”  That, to Edith, would not have been sense.  She knew that she was not “wronging” anyone.  As for the unknown girl, who, perhaps, had “wronged” Eleanor, and about whom, now, Maurice was so ashamed and so repentant—­she was of no consequence anyhow.  “Of course she is bad,” Edith thought, “and the whole thing was her fault!” But it was in the past; he had said so.  “He said it was long ago.  If,” she thought, “he did run crooked, why, I’m sorry for poor Eleanor; and he ought to tell her; there’s no question about that!  It’s wrong not to tell her.  And of course he couldn’t tell me.  That wouldn’t be square to Eleanor!...  But I hate to have him so unhappy....  No; it’s right for him to be unhappy.  He ought to be!  It would be dreadful if he wasn’t.  But, somehow, the thing itself doesn’t seem to touch me.  I love him.  I am going to love him all I want to!  But no one will ever know it.”

By and by she knelt down and prayed, just one word:  "Maurice." She was not unhappy.

CHAPTER XXVI

During the next two days at Green Hill, Eleanor’s dislike of Edith had no chance to break into silent flames, for the girl was so quiet that not even Eleanor could see anything in her behavior to Maurice to criticize.  It was Maurice who did the criticizing!

“Edith, come down into the garden; I want to read something to you.”

“Can’t.  Have to write letters.”

“Edith, if you’ll come into the studio I’ll play you something I’ve patched up.”

“I’m a heathen about music.  Let’s sit with Eleanor.”

“Skeezics, what’s the matter with you?  Why won’t you come and walk?  You’re getting lazy in your old age!”

“Busy,” Edith said, vaguely.

At this point Maurice insisted, and Edith sneaked out to the back entry and telephoned Johnny Bennett:  “Come over, lazybones, and take some exercise!”

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The Vehement Flame from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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