The Freelands eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 295 pages of information about The Freelands.
and, receiving a little silent shake of the head, went away again.  At eleven o’clock, when once more she changed the ice-cap, his eyes had still no lustre, and for a moment her courage failed her utterly.  It seemed to her that he could never win back, that death possessed the room already, possessed those candle-flames, the ticking of the clock, the dark, dripping night, possessed her heart.  Could he be gone before she had been his!  Gone!  Where?  She sank down on her knees, covering her eyes.  What good to watch, if he were never coming back!  A long time—­it seemed hours—­passed thus, with the feeling growing deeper in her that no good would come while she was watching.  And behind the barrier of her hands she tried desperately to rally courage.  If things were—­they were!  One must look them in the face!  She took her hands away.  His eyes!  Was it light in them?  Was it?  They were seeing—­surely they saw.  And his lips made the tiniest movement.  In that turmoil of exultation she never knew how she managed to continue kneeling there, with her hands on his.  But all her soul shone down to him out of her eyes, and drew and drew at his spirit struggling back from the depths of him.  For many minutes that struggle lasted; then he smiled.  It was the feeblest smile that ever was on lips, but it made the tears pour down Nedda’s cheeks and trickle off on to his hands.  Then, with a stoicism that she could not believe in, so hopelessly unreal it seemed, so utterly the negation of the tumult within her, she settled back again at his feet to watch and not excite him.  And still his lips smiled that faint smile, and his opened eyes grew dark and darker with meaning.

So at midnight Kirsteen found them.

CHAPTER XXX

In the early hours of his all-night sitting Felix had first only memories, and then Kirsteen for companion.

“I worry most about Tod,” she said.  “He had that look in his face when he went off from Marrow Farm.  He might do something terrible if they ill-treat Sheila.  If only she has sense enough to see and not provoke them.”

“Surely she will,” Felix murmured.

“Yes, if she realizes.  But she won’t, I’m afraid.  Even I have only known him look like that three times.  Tod is so gentle—­ passion stores itself in him; and when it comes, it’s awful.  If he sees cruelty, he goes almost mad.  Once he would have killed a man if I hadn’t got between them.  He doesn’t know what he’s doing at such moments.  I wish—­I wish he were back.  It’s hard one can’t pierce through, and see him.”

Gazing at her eyes so dark and intent, Felix thought:  ’If you can’t pierce through—­none can.’

He learned the story of the disaster.

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Project Gutenberg
The Freelands from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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