The Dark Flower eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 300 pages of information about The Dark Flower.
had no heart!  And then the memory of his eyes came back—­gazing up, troubled, almost wild—­when she had dropped on him those flowers.  That memory filled her with a sort of delirium.  One look from her then, one touch, and he would have clasped her to him.  She was sure of it, yet scarcely dared to believe what meant so much.  And suddenly the torment that she must go through, whatever happened, seemed to her too brutal and undeserved!  She rose.  Just one gleam of sunlight was still slanting through the doorway; it failed by a yard or so to reach the kneeling countrywoman, and Anna watched.  Would it steal on and touch her, or would the sun pass down behind the mountains, and it fade away?  Unconscious of that issue, the black-shawled figure knelt, never moving.  And the beam crept on.  “If it touches her, then he will love me, if only for an hour; if it fades out too soon—­” And the beam crept on.  That shadowy path of light, with its dancing dust-motes, was it indeed charged with Fate—­indeed the augury of Love or Darkness?  And, slowly moving, it mounted, the sun sinking; it rose above that bent head, hovered in a golden mist, passed—­and suddenly was gone.

Unsteadily, seeing nothing plain, Anna walked out of the church.  Why she passed her husband and the boy on the terrace without a look she could not quite have said—­perhaps because the tortured does not salute her torturers.  When she reached her room she felt deadly tired, and lying down on her bed, almost at once fell asleep.

She was wakened by a sound, and, recognizing the delicate ‘rat-tat’ of her husband’s knock, did not answer, indifferent whether he came in or no.  He entered noiselessly.  If she did not let him know she was awake, he would not wake her.  She lay still and watched him sit down astride of a chair, cross his arms on its back, rest his chin on them, and fix his eyes on her.  Through her veil of eyelashes she had unconsciously contrived that his face should be the one object plainly seen—­the more intensely visualized, because of this queer isolation.  She did not feel at all ashamed of this mutual fixed scrutiny, in which she had such advantage.  He had never shown her what was in him, never revealed what lay behind those bright satiric eyes.  Now, perhaps, she would see!  And she lay, regarding him with the intense excited absorption with which one looks at a tiny wildflower through a magnifying-lens, and watches its insignificance expanded to the size and importance of a hothouse bloom.  In her mind was this thought:  He is looking at me with his real self, since he has no reason for armour against me now.  At first his eyes seemed masked with their customary brightness, his whole face with its usual decorous formality; then gradually he became so changed that she hardly knew him.  That decorousness, that brightness, melted off what lay behind, as frosty dew melts off grass.  And her very soul contracted within her, as if she had become identified with what

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The Dark Flower from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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