Villa Rubein, and other stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 374 pages of information about Villa Rubein, and other stories.
that any man was such a fool; it was all part of the game-a scheming rascal!  Kasteliz, too—­his threats!  They intended him to marry her!  And the horrid idea was strengthened by his reverence for marriage.  It was the proper, the respectable condition; he was genuinely afraid of this other sort of liaison—­it was somehow too primitive!  And yet the thought of that marriage made his blood run cold.  Considering that she had already yielded, it would be all the more monstrous!  With the cold, fatal clearness of the morning light he now for the first time saw his position in its full bearings.  And, like a fish pulled out of water, he gasped at what was disclosed.  Sullen resentment against this attempt to force him settled deep into his soul.

He seated himself on the bed, holding his head in his hands, solemnly thinking out what such marriage meant.  In the first place it meant ridicule, in the next place ridicule, in the last place ridicule.  She would eat chicken bones with her fingers—­those fingers his lips still burned to kiss.  She would dance wildly with other men.  She would talk of her “dear Father-town,” and all the time her eyes would look beyond him, some where or other into some d—­d place he knew nothing of.  He sprang up and paced the room, and for a moment thought he would go mad.

They meant him to marry her!  Even she—­she meant him to marry her!  Her tantalising inscrutability; her sudden little tendernesses; her quick laughter; her swift, burning kisses; even the movements of her hands; her tears—­all were evidence against her.  Not one of these things that Nature made her do counted on her side, but how they fanned his longing, his desire, and distress!  He went to the glass and tried to part his hair with his fingers, but being rather fine, it fell into lank streaks.  There was no comfort to be got from it.  He drew his muddy boots on.  Suddenly he thought:  ’If I could see her alone, I could arrive at some arrangement!’ Then, with a sense of stupefaction, he made the discovery that no arrangement could possibly be made that would not be dangerous, even desperate.  He seized his hat, and, like a rabbit that has been fired at, bolted from the room.  He plodded along amongst the damp woods with his head down, and resentment and dismay in his heart.  But, as the sun rose, and the air grew sweet with pine scent, he slowly regained a sort of equability.  After all, she had already yielded; it was not as if...!  And the tramp of his own footsteps lulled him into feeling that it would all come right.

‘Look at the thing practically,’ he thought.  The faster he walked the firmer became his conviction that he could still see it through.  He took out his watch—­it was past seven—­he began to hasten back.  In the yard of the inn his driver was harnessing the horses; Swithin went up to him.

“Who told you to put them in?” he asked.

The driver answered, “Der Herr.”

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