The Zeppelin's Passenger eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 182 pages of information about The Zeppelin's Passenger.
disposition, and yet, during the last few days, he had convinced himself that she was beginning to care.  Her strained relations with her husband had been, without a doubt, her first incentive towards the acceptance of his proffered devotion.  Now he told himself with eager hopefulness that some portion of it, however minute, must be for his own sake.  The relations between husband and wife, he reminded himself, must, at any rate, have been strained during the last few months, or Cranston would never have been able to keep his secret.  In his gloomy passage through this land of ill omens, however, he shivered a little as he thought of the other possibility—­tortured himself with imagining what might happen during her revulsion of feeling, if Philippa discovered the truth.  A sense of something greater than he had yet known in life seemed to lift him into some lofty state of aloofness, from which he could look down and despise himself, the poor, tired plodder wearing the heavy chains of duty.  There was a life so much more wonderful, just the other side of the clouds, a very short distance away, a life of alluring and passionate happiness.  Should he ever find the courage, he wondered, to escape from the treadmill and go in search of it?  Duty, for the last two years, had taken him by the hand and led him along a pathway of shame.  He had never been a hypocrite about the war.  He was one of those who had acknowledged from the first that Germany had set forth, with the sword in her hand, on a war of conquest.  His own inherited martial spirit had vaguely approved; he, too, in those earlier days, had felt the sunlight upon his rapier.  Later had come the enlightenment, the turbulent waves of doubt, the nightmare of a nation’s awakening conscience, mirrored in his own soul.  It was in a depression shared, perhaps, in a lesser degree by millions of those whose ranks he had joined, that he felt this passionate craving for escape into a world which took count of other things.

CHAPTER XVII

Punctually at 12 o’clock the next morning, Lessingham presented himself at the hotel in Dover Street and was invited by the hall porter to take a seat in the lounge.  Philippa entered, a few minutes later, her eyes and cheeks brilliant with the brisk exercise she had been taking, her slim figure most becomingly arrayed in grey cloth and chinchilla.

“I lost Helen in Harrod’s,” she announced, “but I know she’s lunching with friends, so it really doesn’t matter.  You’ll have to take care of me, Mr. Lessingham, until the train goes, if you will.”

“For even longer than that, if you will,” he murmured.

She laughed.  “More pretty speeches?  I don’t think I’m equal to them before luncheon.”

“This time I am literal,” he explained.  “I am coming back to Dreymarsh myself.”

He felt his heart beat quicker, a sudden joy possessed him.  Philippa’s expression was obviously one of satisfaction.

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The Zeppelin's Passenger from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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