The Vehement Flame eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 508 pages of information about The Vehement Flame.

“Another failure,” Eleanor said.  She remembered with what eager hope she had started for Lily’s house; “I was going to ‘bring him home’ with me!  What a fool I was! ...  I always fail,” she said.  Once more, she had “marched up a hill—­and—­then—­marched—­down—­again”!  Her sense of failure was like a dragging weight under her breastbone!  She had not made Maurice happy; she had not given him children; she had not kept Edith out of his life.  Failure!  Failure!  “But he loves me; he said so, when I told him I forgave him about Lily.  Of course I oughtn’t to have married him.  But I loved him ... so much.  And I did want to have just a little happiness!  I never had had any.”  She sat there, the bellows in her white, ineffectual hands, looking into the fire; how capable Lily’s hands were!  She remembered the sturdy left hand, and that shiny band of gold ...  Then she looked at her own slender wedding ring, and that made her think of the circle of braided grass; and the locust blossoms; and the field—­and the children who were to come there on the wedding anniversaries!  And now—­Maurice’s child called another woman “mother"!...  Well, she had tried to bring him back to Maurice; tried, and failed, with hideous humiliation—­for, instead of bringing Jacky back, this “mother” had brought her back!... “And she paid my car fare!” It was intolerable.  “I must send her five cents, somehow!”

She sat on the floor, leaning against Maurice’s chair, until midnight; the log burned through, broke apart, and smoldered into ashes.  Once she put her cheek down on the broad arm of the chair, then kissed it—­for his hand had rested on it!—­his dear young hand—­In the deepening chilliness, watching the ashes, she ached with the sense of her last failure; but most of the time she thought of Edith, and of what she believed she had read in those humorous, candid eyes.  “She dared, before me!—­to show him that she was in love with him!  He doesn’t care for her—­I know that.  But I won’t have her come here, to my own house, and make love to him.  How can I keep her from coming?  Oh, if I could only get Jacky!”

But she couldn’t get him.  She had accepted that as final.  The talk in Lily’s parlor proved that there was not the slightest hope of getting Jacky.  So the only thing for her to do was to keep Edith out of her house.  When, at nearly one o’clock, shivering, she went up to her room, she was absorbed in thinking how she could do this.  With any other girl it would have been simple enough; never invite her!  But not Edith.  Edith came without an invitation.  Edith had, Eleanor thought, “no delicacy.”  She had always been that way.  She had always lacked ordinary refinement!  From the very first, she had run after Maurice.  “She is capable of kissing him,” Eleanor told herself; “and saying she did it because he was like a brother!” Strangely enough, in this blaze of jealousy she had no flicker of resentment at Lily!  Lily (now that she had seen her) was

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The Vehement Flame from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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