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Beyond eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 343 pages of information about Beyond.

“And I’ve turned the water in, m’m.  Will you have a little mustard in it?”

Again Gyp nodded.  And the girl, going downstairs for the mustard, told cook there was “that about the mistress that makes you quite pathetic.”  The cook, who was fingering her concertina, for which she had a passion, answered: 

“She ’ides up her feelin’s, same as they all does.  Thank ’eaven she haven’t got that drawl, though, that ’er old aunt ’as—­always makes me feel to want to say, ’Buck up, old dear, you ain’t ’alf so precious as all that!’”

And when the maid Ellen had taken the mustard and gone, she drew out her concertina to its full length and, with cautionary softness, began to practise “Home, Sweet Home!”

To Gyp, lying in her hot bath, those muffled strains just mounted, not quite as a tune, rather as some far-away humming of large flies.  The heat of the water, the pungent smell of the mustard, and that droning hum slowly soothed and drowsed away the vehemence of feeling.  She looked at her body, silver-white in the yellowish water, with a dreamy sensation.  Some day she, too, would love!  Strange feeling she had never had before!  Strange, indeed, that it should come at such a moment, breaking through the old instinctive shrinking.  Yes; some day love would come to her.  There floated before her brain the adoring look on Daphne Wing’s face, the shiver that had passed along her arm, and pitifulness crept into her heart—­a half-bitter, half-admiring pitifulness.  Why should she grudge—­she who did not love?  The sounds, like the humming of large flies, grew deeper, more vibrating.  It was the cook, in her passion swelling out her music on the phrase,

     “Be it ne-e-ver so humble,
      There’s no-o place like home!”

XIII

That night, Gyp slept peacefully, as though nothing had happened, as though there were no future at all before her.  She woke into misery.  Her pride would never let her show the world what she had discovered, would force her to keep an unmoved face and live an unmoved life.  But the struggle between mother-instinct and revolt was still going on within her.  She was really afraid to see her baby, and she sent word to Betty that she thought it would be safer if she kept quite quiet till the afternoon.

She got up at noon and stole downstairs.  She had not realized how violent was her struggle over his child till she was passing the door of the room where it was lying.  If she had not been ordered to give up nursing, that struggle would never have come.  Her heart ached, but a demon pressed her on and past the door.  Downstairs she just pottered round, dusting her china, putting in order the books which, after house-cleaning, the maid had arranged almost too carefully, so that the first volumes of Dickens and Thackeray followed each other on the top shell, and the second volumes followed each other on the bottom shelf.  And all the time she thought dully:  ’Why am I doing this?  What do I care how the place looks?  It is not my home.  It can never be my home!’

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