“Away from here—to-night?”
“Yes,” he answered hoarsely, “yes!”
Then Hermione fell suddenly before him on her knees, and, before he could stay her, had caught his hands, kissing them, wetting them with her tears, and pressing them passionately to her bosom.
“I knew,” she cried, “I knew that you were strong and gentle and—good. Good-by—oh, my love—good-by!”
“Hermione,” said he, kissing her bowed head, “oh, my Hermione, I love you with a love that will die only when I do. I want you, and I’ll never lose hope of winning you—some day, never give up my determination to marry you—never, so help me God!”
Then swiftly he turned away but, reaching the door, stooped and picked up M’Ginnis’s neckerchief and, recognising it, crumpled it in fierce hand; so, with it clenched in griping fingers, he hurried away and left her there upon her knees.
HOW GEOFFREY RAVENSLEE DEPARTED FROM HELL’S KITCHEN
“What, back again already, Mr. Geoffrey?” exclaimed Mrs. Trapes, poking her head around the kitchen door, as Ravenslee entered the flat, “back so soon?”
“Only for a minute, Mrs. Trapes.”
“Supper’ll be ready soon—your wedding supper, eh, Mr. Geoffrey? You’ll have it here with me, you an’ Hermy, o’ course! Smells kind o’ good, don’t it?”
“Delicious, Mrs. Trapes!”
“Delicious is the word, Mr. Geoffrey—stooed beef with carrots—”
“And onions, Mrs. Trapes—onions, I’m sure?”
“Well, I’ll not deny a onion here an’ there, Mr. Geoffrey—a stoo needs ’em.”
“Ah, I knew it!” sighed Ravenslee. “I grieve that I shan’t be able to eat it.”
“Not eat—what, you? Say, y’ ain’t sick, are you?”
“Not in body, Mrs. Trapes.”
“Then why no stoo?”
“Because I shan’t be here. I’m going, Mrs. Trapes—I’m leaving Mulligan’s now—for good—”
“Leavin’—y’ mean with Hermy?”
“No—alone. Good-by, Mrs. Trapes!”
“My land!” gasped Mrs. Trapes, “what you tellin’ me?”
“Good-by, Mrs. Trapes!”
“But why? Oh, dear Lord, what is it? Who—”
“I want to thank you—for all your kindness. Good-by!”
As one in a dream Mrs. Trapes extended a limp hand and stood wide of eye and pale of cheek to watch him go; and as he descended the stairs, her look of helpless, pained surprise went with him. Swiftly he strode across that familiar court, shoulders squared, chin outthrust, and eyes that glowed ominously in his pale face beneath fierce-scowling brows. As he turned into Tenth Avenue there met him the Spider.
“What you chasin’ this time, bo?” he enquired.
“Then you’re sure chasin’ trouble.”
“That’s what I want. D’ you know where he is?”
“Sure I do, but—”