The Dark Flower eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 300 pages of information about The Dark Flower.
he was seeing—­a something to be passed over, a very nothing.  Yes, his was the face of one looking at what was unintelligible, and therefore negligible; at that which had no soul; at something of a different and inferior species and of no great interest to a man.  His face was like a soundless avowal of some conclusion, so fixed and intimate that it must surely emanate from the very core of him—­be instinctive, unchangeable.  This was the real he!  A man despising women!  Her first thought was:  And he’s married—­what a fate!  Her second:  If he feels that, perhaps thousands of men do!  Am I and all women really what they think us?  The conviction in his stare—­ its through-and-through conviction—­had infected her; and she gave in to it for the moment, crushed.  Then her spirit revolted with such turbulence, and the blood so throbbed in her, that she could hardly lie still.  How dare he think her like that—­a nothing, a bundle of soulless inexplicable whims and moods and sensuality?  A thousand times, No!  It was he who was the soulless one, the dry, the godless one; who, in his sickening superiority, could thus deny her, and with her all women!  That stare was as if he saw her—­a doll tricked out in garments labelled soul, spirit, rights, responsibilities, dignity, freedom—­all so many words.  It was vile, it was horrible, that he should see her thus!  And a really terrific struggle began in her between the desire to get up and cry this out, and the knowledge that it would be stupid, undignified, even mad, to show her comprehension of what he would never admit or even understand that he had revealed to her.  And then a sort of cynicism came to her rescue.  What a funny thing was married life—­ to have lived all these years with him, and never known what was at the bottom of his heart!  She had the feeling now that, if she went up to him and said:  “I am in love with that boy!” it would only make him droop the corners of his mouth and say in his most satiric voice:  “Really!  That is very interesting!”—­would not change in one iota his real thoughts of her; only confirm him in the conviction that she was negligible, inexplicable, an inferior strange form of animal, of no real interest to him.

And then, just when she felt that she could not hold herself in any longer, he got up, passed on tiptoe to the door, opened it noiselessly, and went out.

The moment he had gone, she jumped up.  So, then, she was linked to one for whom she, for whom women, did not, as it were, exist!  It seemed to her that she had stumbled on knowledge of almost sacred importance, on the key of everything that had been puzzling and hopeless in their married life.  If he really, secretly, whole-heartedly despised her, the only feeling she need have for one so dry, so narrow, so basically stupid, was just contempt.  But she knew well enough that contempt would not shake what she had seen in his face; he was impregnably walled within his clever, dull conviction of superiority.  He was for ever intrenched, and she would always be only the assailant.  Though—­what did it matter, now?

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The Dark Flower from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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