Villa Rubein, and other stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 280 pages of information about Villa Rubein, and other stories.

Suddenly Rozsi dropped her hands; her flushed face was quivering—­it seemed as though a word, a sign, even, might bring a burst of tears.

He walked over to the window.  ‘I must give her time!’ he thought; then seized by unreasoning terror at this silence, spun round, and caught her by the arms.  Rozsi held back from him, swayed forward and buried her face on his breast....

Half an hour later Swithin was pacing up and down his room.  The scent of rose leaves had not yet died away.  A glove lay on the floor; he picked it up, and for a long time stood weighing it in his hand.  All sorts of confused thoughts and feelings haunted him.  It was the purest and least selfish moment of his life, this moment after she had yielded.  But that pure gratitude at her fiery, simple abnegation did not last; it was followed by a petty sense of triumph, and by uneasiness.  He was still weighing the little glove in his hand, when he had another visitor.  It was Kasteliz.

“What can I do for you?” Swithin asked ironically.

The Hungarian seemed suffering from excitement.  Why had Swithin left his charges the night before?  What excuse had he to make?  What sort of conduct did he call this?

Swithin, very like a bull-dog at that moment, answered:  What business was it of his?

The business of a gentleman!  What right had the Englishman to pursue a young girl?

“Pursue?” said Swithin; “you’ve been spying, then?”

“Spying—­I—­Kasteliz—­Maurus Johann—­an insult!”

“Insult!” sneered Swithin; “d’you mean to tell me you weren’t in the street just now?”

Kasteliz answered with a hiss, “If you do not leave the city I will make you, with my sword—­do you understand?”

“And if you do not leave my room I will throw you out of the window!”

For some minutes Kasteliz spoke in pure Hungarian while Swithin waited, with a forced smile and a fixed look in his eye.  He did not understand Hungarian.

“If you are still in the city to-morrow evening,” said Kasteliz at last in English, “I will spit you in the street.”

Swithin turned to the window and watched his visitor’s retiring back with a queer mixture of amusement, stubbornness, and anxiety.  ‘Well,’ he thought, ‘I suppose he’ll run me through!’ The thought was unpleasant; and it kept recurring, but it only served to harden his determination.  His head was busy with plans for seeing Rozsi; his blood on fire with the kisses she had given him.

IX

Swithin was long in deciding to go forth next day.  He had made up his mind not to go to Rozsi till five o’clock.  ’Mustn’t make myself too cheap,’ he thought.  It was a little past that hour when he at last sallied out, and with a beating heart walked towards Boleskey’s.  He looked up at the window, more than half expecting to see Rozsi there; but she was not, and he noticed with faint surprise that the window was not open; the plants, too, outside, looked singularly arid.  He knocked.  No one came.  He beat a fierce tattoo.  At last the door was opened by a man with a reddish beard, and one of those sardonic faces only to be seen on shoemakers of Teutonic origin.

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Project Gutenberg
Villa Rubein, and other stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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