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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 243 pages of information about The Betrayal.

CHAPTER XXV

MY SECRET

There followed for me another three days of unremitting work.  Then midway through one morning I threw my pen from me with a great sense of relief.  They might come or send for me when they chose.  I had finished.  My eyes were hot and my brain weary.  Instinctively I threw open my front door, and it seemed to me that the sun and the wind and the birds were calling.

So I walked northwards down on the beach, across the grass-sprinkled sandhills and the mud-bottomed marshes.  I walked with my cap stuffed in my pocket, my head bared to the freshening wind, and all the way I met no living creature.  As I walked, my thoughts, which had been concentrated for these last few days upon my work, went back to that terrible half-hour at Braster Grange.  I thought of Ray.  I realized now that for days past I had been striving not to think of him.  The man’s sheer brutality appalled me.  I believed in him now wholly, I believed at least in his honesty, his vigorous and trenchant loyalty.  But the ways of the man were surely brutal to torture even vermin caught in the trap, and that woman, adventuress though she might be, had flinched before him in agony, as though her very nerves were being hacked out of her body.  And Blenavon, too!  Surely he might have remembered that he was her brother.  He might have helped him to retain just a portion of his self-respect.  Was he as severe on every measure of wrong-doing?  I fancied to myself the meeting on that lonely road between the poor white-faced creature who had looked in upon my window, and this strong merciless man.  Warmed with exercise as I was, I shivered.  Ray reminded me of those grim figures of the Old Testament.  An eye for an eye, a life for a life, were precepts with him indeed.  He was as inexorable as Fate itself.  I feared him, and I knew why.  I feared him when I thought of Angela, almost over-sensitive, so delicate a flower to be held in his strong, merciless grasp.  I walked faster and faster, for thoughts were crowding in upon me.  Such a tangled web, such bitter sweetness as they held for me.  These were the thoughts which in those days it was the struggle of my life to keep from coming to fruition.  I knew very well that, if once I gave way to them, flight alone could save me.  For the love of her was in my nerves, in every beat of my pulse, a wild and beautiful dream, against which I was fighting always a hopeless battle.

Far away, coming towards me along the sands, I saw her.  I stopped short.  For a moment my heart was hot with joy, then I looked wildly around, thinking of flight.  It was not possible.  Already she had seen me.  She waved her hand and increased her pace, walking with the swift effortless grace of her beautiful young limbs, her head thrown back, a welcoming smile already parting her lips.  I set my teeth and prepared myself for the meeting.  Afterwards would come the pain, but for the present the joy of seeing her, of being with her, was everything!  I hastened forward.

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