The Dark Flower eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 300 pages of information about The Dark Flower.
by his senses, by all that was least high in him, when she wished for him all the finest things that life could give, as if she had been his mother.  She could not.  It would be wicked!  In that moment of intense spiritual agony, those two down there in the sun, by the grey stone and the dark water, seemed guarded from her, protected.  The girl’s white flower-face trembling up, the boy’s gaze leaping down!  Strange that a heart which felt that, could hate at the same moment that flower-face, and burn to kill with kisses that eagerness in the boy’s eyes.  The storm in her slowly passed.  And she prayed just to feel nothing.  It was natural that she should lose her hour!  Natural that her thirst should go unslaked, and her passion never bloom; natural that youth should go to youth, this boy to his own kind, by the law of—­love.  The breeze blowing down the valley fanned her cheeks, and brought her a faint sensation of relief.  Nobility!  Was it just a word?  Or did those that gave up happiness feel noble?

She wandered for a long time in the park.  Not till late afternoon did she again pass out by the gate, through which she had entered, full of hope.  She met no one before she reached her room; and there, to be safe, took refuge in her bed.  She dreaded only lest the feeling of utter weariness should leave her.  She wanted no vigour of mind or body till she was away from here.  She meant neither to eat nor drink; only to sleep, if she could.  To-morrow, if there were any early train, she could be gone before she need see anyone; her husband must arrange.  As to what he would think, and she could say—­time enough to decide that.  And what did it matter?  The one vital thing now was not to see the boy, for she could not again go through hours of struggle like those.  She rang the bell, and sent the startled maid with a message to her husband.  And while she waited for him to come, her pride began revolting.  She must not let him see.  That would be horrible.  And slipping out of bed she got a handkerchief and the eau-de-Cologne flask, and bandaged her forehead.  He came almost instantly, entering in his quick, noiseless way, and stood looking at her.  He did not ask what was the matter, but simply waited.  And never before had she realized so completely how he began, as it were, where she left off; began on a plane from which instinct and feeling were as carefully ruled out as though they had been blasphemous.  She summoned all her courage, and said:  “I went into the park; the sun must have been too hot.  I should like to go home to-morrow, if you don’t mind.  I can’t bear not feeling well in other people’s houses.”

She was conscious of a smile flickering over his face; then it grew grave.

“Ah!” he said; “yes.  The sun, a touch of that will last some days.  Will you be fit to travel, though?”

She had a sudden conviction that he knew all about it, but that—­ since to know all about it was to feel himself ridiculous—­he had the power of making himself believe that he knew nothing.  Was this fine of him, or was it hateful?

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The Dark Flower from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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