Oddsfish! eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 486 pages of information about Oddsfish!.

“Oh!  Dolly,” I cried.  “Why are you so bitter with me?  You know that I have never thought ill of you for an instant.  You know I have done nothing but try to serve you—­I have bullied you?  Yes:  I have; and I would do the same a thousand times again in the same cause.  You are wilful and obstinate; but I thank God I am more wilful and obstinate than you.  I am sick of this fencing and diplomacy and irony.  You know what I am—­I am not at all the fine gentleman that leaned his head on the chimney-breast—­that was make-believe and foolishness.  I am a bully and a brute—­you have told me so—­”

“Oh!” wailed Dolly suddenly—­no longer pretending; and I caught the note in her voice for which I had been waiting.  I dropped the lantern; the horses plunged violently at the flare and the crash; but I cared nothing for that.  I dragged furiously on the bridle; and as the horses swung together, I caught her round the shoulders, and kissed her fiercely on the cheek.  She clung to me, weeping.

CHAPTER V

Well; I had beaten her at last; and in the only way in which she would yield.  Weakness was of no use with her, nor gentleness, nor even that lofty patronage which, poor fool!  I had shewn her in the parlour at Hare Street.  She must be man’s mate—­which is certainly a rather savage relation at bottom—­not merely his pretty and grateful wife.  This I learned from her, as we rode onwards and up into the high road—­(where, I may say in passing, there was no sign of our party)—­though she did not know she was telling it me.

“Oh!  Roger,” she said.  “And I thought you were a—­a pussy-cat.”

“That is the second time I have been told so in two days,” I said.

“Who told you so?”

“His Majesty.”

“I thought His Majesty was wiser,” said she.

“He has been pretty wise, though,” I said.  “If it were not for him, we should not be riding here together.”

“I suppose you made him do that too,” she said.

* * * * *

But it was not only of Dolly that I had learned my lessons; it was of myself also.  I was astonished how inevitable it appeared to me now that we should be riding together on such terms; and I understood that never, for one instant, all through this miserable year away from her, had I ever, interiorly, loosed my hold upon her.  Beneath all my resolutions and wilful distractions the intention had persevered.  All the while I was saying to myself in my own mind that I should never see Dolly again, something that was not my mind—­(I suppose my heart)—­was telling me the precise opposite.  Well; the heart had been right, after all.

* * * * *

She asked me presently what I should say to her father.

“I shall forgive him a great deal now, that I thought I never should,” I said with wonderful magnanimity.  “A few sharp words only, and no more.  You see, my dear, it was through his sending you to Court—­”

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Oddsfish! from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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